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BlackBerry Making Real Estate Deals as It Tries to Get House in Order

Meanwhile, investors rally on word of continued Pentagon use of BlackBerry handhelds.


BlackBerry CEO John Chen is trying to better position BlackBerry to compete, both strategically and geographically.

In an interview with Re/code earlier this month, Chen announced plans to open a new sales office in New York, a development center in the Bay Area, and a security research facility near government customers in Washington, D.C. And while BlackBerry intends to remain headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Chen confirmed on Tuesday that the company plans to divest the bulk of its Canadian real estate holdings.

Some of that three million square feet of office space is vacant, and BlackBerry intends to lease back some of the properties it sells. The decision to sell the properties is part of Chen’s effort to get the company on more solid footing.

“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 a statement.

Meanwhile, investors cheered on Tuesday as word spread of a program disclosed by the Pentagon last week. In a statement, the Defense Department’s IT arm said that it was moving forward with a plan, announced nearly a year ago, that will support up to 100,000 mobile users — including 80,000 BlackBerrys, along with a smaller number of iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. BlackBerry stock topped $10 per share in after-hours trading on Tuesday after closing regular trading at $9.93 per share, up 85 cents, or more than nine percent.

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