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BlackBerry to Sell Most of Canadian Real Estate to Raise

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Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- BlackBerry Ltd., the struggling smartphone maker, plans to sell most of its Canadian real estate to raise cash for its turnaround plan.

BlackBerry is working with CBRE Group Inc. to sell vacant properties as well as occupied space it would then lease back from buyers, according to a statement today. The assets cover more than 3 million square feet (280,000 square meters), the amount of office space in the 104-story One World Trade Center skyscraper in lower Manhattan.

Chief Executive Officer John Chen, who took over in November, is revamping the company’s strategy to outsource manufacturing and return the target market to business users instead of consumers. Chen is working to steady the company after it ceded most of its smartphone market share to Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

“This initiative will further enhance BlackBerry’s financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve,” Chen said in the statement.

BlackBerry jumped as much as 6.4 percent in late trading after closing at $9.93 in New York. Through today’s close, the shares have climbed 33 percent this year.

Today’s announcement is the second major transaction Chen has completed since taking over. Last month, he struck a deal with Foxconn Technology Group to outsource the production and some of the design of BlackBerrys to cut costs and reduce its inventory risks.

BlackBerry didn’t disclose how much it expected to raise from the sale and Ricky Hernden, a spokesman for CBRE, declined to comment when reached by phone. BlackBerry finished last quarter with cash and short-term investments of $3.06 billion.

BlackBerry has about 40 locations in Canada and 78 elsewhere around the world, according to its website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at; Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at