BlackBerry to divest majority of its Canadian real estate assets

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd yesterday said that it would divest majority of its real estate assets in Canada.

The move comes nearly a month after the Ontario-based company agreed to sell five buildings, along with some land, to the University of Waterloo, for about C$41 million.

BlackBerry said that it intends to sell the ''majority'' of its real estate holdings in Canada, including the home of its head office operations –totalling over three million square feet of space across 19 buildings.

BlackBerry, which recently changed its name from Research In Motion, will team up with commercial real estate services company CBRE, to divest these assets through a combination of sale-leaseback and vacant asset sales.

The once smartphone giant did disclose the potential value of a sale but said that it will reveal further information as required in connection with any definitive sale transaction.

''BlackBerry remains committed to being headquartered in Waterloo and having a strong presence in Canada along with other global hubs,'' said BlackBerry CEO and executive chair, John Chen.

''This initiative will further enhance BlackBerry's financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve,'' he added.

The sale also comes three months after BlackBerry posted a $4.4 billion third quarter loss and said that it would eliminate 4,500 employees.

The company's shares, which plunged over 19 per cent last year, surged 30 per cent this year, but its market value is down to $5.15 billion, from its 2008 peak of $84 billion.