(c) 2013, The Washington Post.

(c) 2013, The Washington Post.

Anyone watching BlackBerry plot its next move can be forgiven for complaining of whiplash.

The embattled device company says it won't be selling to a new owner after all, just months after it announced it was looking for alternatives. Potential buyers included Lenovo and the investment firm Fairfax Financial Holdings, the latter of which had offered $4.7 billion, or $9 a share. BlackBerry's stock price tumbled 16.4 percent Monday, closing at $6.49.

BlackBerry had previously said it wanted to seal a deal by the beginning of this month. But having abandoned its quest for a buyer, the company is now looking to raise $1 billion from institutional investors. It's also replacing its chief executive, Thorsten Heins.

What will become of the beleaguered phone manufacturer? James Moorman, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ who's been following the BlackBerry saga closely, said the leadership change will be an especially important test.

"We really need to know the strategy going forward," he said. "I still think the company is viable and has a future as a niche player. . . . If they get back to focusing on enterprise and emerging markets, they can do OK."

BlackBerry has also seesawed between hoarding cash and spending large chunks of it, Moorman said.

The company blew $934 million in the second quarter on unsold inventory, primarily Z10 touchscreen devices that it hoped would rescue its bottom line. It was a huge bet that didn't pay off.

While the company still sits on a substantial pile of cash about $2.6 billion as of August, according to Morningstar's Brian Collelo the fact that it's seeking to raise an additional billion is a hint that it expects to burn through much of that money simply paying off operating expenses and other restructuring costs. Meanwhile, BlackBerry has left the consumer market altogether, banking more heavily on government and business customers. But even that audience may not last, Collelo said.

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