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Prem Watsa Comments on BlackBerry

- By Holly LaFon

BlackBerry (NYSE:BB). Since we acquired our position about six years ago, much has changed at BlackBerry, all skillfully orchestrated by the only constant, John Chen, its CEO. Recently, he has acquired Cylance for $1.4 billion (leaving $800 million in cash in the holding company), which uses artificial intelligence to provide cybersecurity protection for desktops, servers, etc. It has 3,500 customers, including more than 20% of the Fortune 500. BlackBerry, of course, is the gold standard for mobile security, and together with Cylance it can provide one stop shopping for all the cybersecurity needs of large enterprises, particularly banks, governments and transportation companies. Recently, John Chen said that ''with the acquisition of Cylance, BlackBerry took a giant step forward toward our goal of being the world's largest and most trusted AI-cybersecurity company. Securing endpoints and the data that flows between them is absolutely critical in today's hyperconnected world. By adding Cylance's technology to our arsenal of cybersecurity solutions we will help enterprises intelligently connect, protect and build secure endpoints that users can trust.'' With Cylance, BlackBerry will be a growth company again, and its focus on security and communication could lead it to become an iconic company again. And, of course, it has QNX which is a leader in autonomous cars. BlackBerry is on the move! On a fully converted basis we own 95 million shares at a net cost of $12.30 per share.

From Prem Watsa (Trades, Portfolio)'s fourth-quarter 2018 Fairfax Financial shareholder letter.
This article first appeared on GuruFocus.