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(Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

(Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Third Point takes stake in BlackBerry Add to ...

A hedge fund known as an activist investor has bought 10 million shares of BlackBerry Inc., becoming the beleaguered smartphone maker’s sixth-largest shareholder.

Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC said in a filing Friday that it holds 1.9 per cent of the Ontario-based company’s shares, a stake worth about $90-million (U.S.).

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New York-based Third Point is known for demanding changes in firms in which it invests. Last year it took a stake in Sony Corp. and called on management to spin off its entertainment division to boost profits. Sony has resisted, opting to cut costs instead. The fund recently took stakes in varied companies including Dow Chemical Co., T-Mobile USA Inc. and SoftBank Corp.

BlackBerry’s new CEO John Chen is making moves to revamp the firm, such as changing managers and selling real estate assets. Its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., has invested $500-million in convertible debentures as part of debt financing to help it restructure. Other major shareholders include company co-founder Mike Lazaridis and Toronto-Dominion Bank. BlackBerry stock has risen 27 per cent so far this year.

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