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BlackBerry to purchase cybersecurity company Cylance in US$1.4B deal

The Blackberry logo located in the front of the company's B building in Waterloo, Ont. on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. .
The Blackberry logo located in the front of the company's B building in Waterloo, Ont. on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Ryan

WATERLOO, Ont. — BlackBerry Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire U.S. artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company Cylance for US$1.4 billion in cash.

The Ontario-based company called Cylance a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence, algorithmic science and machine learning to cybersecurity software.

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“Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio, UEM and QNX in particular,” John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in a statement Friday.

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In addition to the purchase price, BlackBerry will also assume Cylance’s unvested employee incentives.

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Cylance will operate as a separate business unit.

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BlackBerry made its name as a smartphone pioneer, but has shifted in recent years to software and security services.

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The company is also growing its QNX business, which is focused on the automotive sector.

BlackBerry said the deal to buy the California-based firm is expected to close before the end of its financial year in February 2019, pending regulatory approvals and closing conditions.