BlackBerry signs up to $900 million patent deal after sale to Catapult collapses

·1 min read
A Blackberry sign is seen in front of their offices on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Waterloo

(Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd said on Tuesday it would sell patents, primarily related to its mobile devices, for up to $900 million after the Canadian software company scrapped an earlier deal with Catapult IP Innovations Inc.

Malikie Innovations Ltd will buy the patents and pay $170 million in cash on deal closing, and another $30 million three years later. BlackBerry will also get annual cash royalties from the profits generated from the patents, relating to its messaging and wireless networking among others.

Malikie is a newly formed unit of intellectual property monetization firm Key Patent Innovations Ltd.

Blackberry said last year it was exploring other options to sell its patents as the planned deal with Catapult IP Innovations Inc was taking longer than usual to close, leading to a loss in exclusivity.

"Catapult was unable to secure financing that would have enabled it to complete the previously announced transaction on amended terms that were acceptable to BlackBerry," the Canadian company said in a statement.

Once known for its phones with a tiny QWERTY physical keyboard and the BBM instant messaging service, BlackBerry's core businesses today are cybersecurity and software used by automakers.

Last year, the company pulled the plug on service for its smartphones, a culmination of years of market share loss to Apple's iPhones and rival Android devices.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)