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BlackBerry Pioneer Balsillie Sells His Shares

(c) Sky News 2013

BlackBerry's former co-chief executive has sold all his shares in the company, according to papers filed in the US.

Jim Balsillie held no stock in the phone manufacturer by the end of 2012, when only a year earlier he owned 26.8 million shares.

He shed his 5% stake less than a year after he and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis stepped down from the helm of the company.

Balsillie, who joined the business in 1992, is credited as a key player in the Canadian company's early success and the popularity of the original BlackBerry models.

Before the sale, he was the company's third biggest shareholder.

A separate filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows former chief executive and company founder Mike Lazaridis increased his stake during 2012.

The 51-year-old now owns 5.7% of BlackBerry, or 29.9 million shares.

Last year's resignations from the BlackBerry pioneers came amid pressure from investors for the pair to stand aside.

The firm was rapidly losing market share to Android devices and Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) 's iPhone, and its reputation had been damaged after much-publicised service disruptions.

Thorsten Heins, the company's new chief-executive, has recently been trying to turn around its fortunes with new handsets.

In January he launched the BlackBerry 10 handsets, with the Z10 featuring a full touchscreen for the first time.

Sales have exceeded expectations according to Heins, with reports of some UK stores selling out.

Reviews of the phone have also been generally positive.

However, Blackberry did receive unwelcome news earlier this week when US DIY store Home Depot said it was dropping BlackBerry as its handset supplier.

Shares dropped 8% on the news that the company had chosen to give its managers 10,000 iPhones.

When approached for reaction to the latest developments, BlackBerry said it never commented on individual shareholders.

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