Blackberry sells off $600-million worth of mobile phone patents

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Canadian technology company Blackberry has agreed to sell patents relating to mobile devices, messaging and wireless networking in a multi-million dollar deal.

The move comes as the Canadian technology company winds down links to its legacy mobile phone business to focus on cyber security.

The patents will be sold to Catapult IP Innovations Inc., a US-based company that was formed specifically to acquire the patents, and which is funded by a group of lenders led by Toronto-based Third Eye Capital and which also includes an unnamed Canadian pension fund.

At closing, BlackBerry will receive $450 million in cash and a promissory note in the principal amount of $150 million, the company said. Blackberry said the patents being sold are not essential to its current core business.

The deal signals the end of Blackberry’s mobile phone business, which at one time held a 43 percent share of the global handset market. However, Blackberry’s popularity was negatively impacted by the huge success of Apple's iPhone, as well as the rise of touch-screen rivals like Samsung.

"Patents that are essential to BlackBerry's current core business operations are excluded from the transaction," the company said in a statement. "BlackBerry will receive a license back to the patents being sold, which relate primarily to mobile devices, messaging and wireless networking. This transaction will not impact customers' use of any of BlackBerry's products, solutions or services."

The company said the deal will need to satisfy all regulatory conditions under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act in the United States and the Investment Canada Act, which could take up to 210 days.