BlackBerry confirm the sale of much of their real estate in Canada

By James Richardson on 21 Mar 2014 08:48 am EDT

It comes as no great surprise that BlackBerry are selling off buildings and land as part of their bid to increase their profit margins in the smartphone world. We've seen jobs go over the last year or so and with a couple of thousand less staff, it only makes sense for BlackBerry to make the most of the real estate that they no longer need. 

As you'll see from the following press release they will also be leasing back some of the space, but they are  looking at selling 3 million square feet in total. 

It's not the news we like to hear, but if it drives the company forward then I'm all for it. 


Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 21, 2014) - BlackBerry(R) Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which it will sell the majority of its real estate holdings in Canada. The announced transaction is part of BlackBerry's ongoing program to improve operational efficiencies, optimize resource usage and shift resources to support operations as the business continues to evolve.

Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will sell more than 3 million square feet of space as well as vacant lands. BlackBerry will also lease back a portion of the space. CBRE Limited served as an advisor to BlackBerry for this transaction. BlackBerry expects closing to occur in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The transaction is subject to certain conditions, and the transaction may not be completed on the negotiated terms, or at all. Additional terms of the transaction will be announced once the principal conditions are satisfied or waived by the parties.

"The successful sale of property in Canada will help us move toward our goal of continued operational efficiency," said BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen. "As previously stated, BlackBerry remains committed to having a strong presence in Canada and we continue to consider Waterloo home to our global headquarters."


W Hoa

Good move. So to speak.


I agree .. good move to sell. They can better use their assets as cash.

BB is not a real estate holding company.
They are a hardware and software company.

I almost fell off my chair. The CNN stock market reporter announced that this was 'another death blow' to BB. CNN's analyst obviously does not realize that 'real estate holdings' does not relate to this type of company.


Idiots are hired as reports. Accountants, financial analyst and economists don't make good tv. If I came on and spoke about the transaction, it would not be watchable. While making stupid comments and news is what people believe. People re-tweet anything without verifying facts. For example the recent hoax about the Malaysian Air Plane being found in the Bermuda Triangle. That is what happens when everyone uses iPhone as their primary device * scary. Lol, no I'm kidding before someone attacks me for making fun of the typical Apple user.

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I like your idea

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Yah. Many private and institutional investors have stock positions in Apple then those who own BB stocks.
No wonder there is so much interest to play down BB's future.
So, the 'analysts' want to protect their opinion with their key audience (and/or, they also own Apple positions).


Keeps the lights on for a while. So to speak.

BB Adict

That was a part of the reorganisation plan.

Blackberry always.....


In most cases there is no need for a huge amount of real estate to be productive.

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To go forward, you have to take a couple steps back. This way you can see the bigger picture better. Good job Mr John Chen!
We the BlackBerry hopeful have a lot of faith that soon you will bring BlackBerry back to its glory days and all the nay sayers and those who jumped ship will return.

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Why is that a step back? Fixed assets don't give a payback until sold, they just execute their gains, flush them off the balance sheet and will switch to a lease whose cost is tax deductible. Take out the headache of managing them and you got a solid cash flow with no real negative impact.

I do finance in a food manufacturing Cie and we rent many warehouses and factory buildings because we want to keep the cash for the production equipment.

BlackBerry is totally making sense here.

I'm Zeeing a bright future for Blackberry


Wow, my original thought about this move was "oh no" but hearing from BlackBerry kind of people who also mostly happen to be business type of people, I'm glad you're all able to make better sense of why this is a good thing.

Whew, I was a bit skeptical, but thanks.


Has to be done. Their problem is cash flow at the moment. The ongoing rental prices long term are less of a problem than their need for large amounts of cash right now.

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I believe they are on a good track.

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I hope they continue to remain a Canadian Company!!

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Exactly......blackberry is moving out of canada

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No, they are not moving out of canada.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.


No real interest in sticking with BlackBerry if they gut their Canadian workforce and presence. Why bother "supporting a Canadian company" when most of their company isn't even IN Canada? May as well be supporting Microsoft or Google at that point.


What......they have way more space than they require. Also many international companies and large corporations always lease space as it allows flexibility. They don't want to be in the real estate business.

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If the company stops supporting Canadian communities, by moving over seas or to the US, then I see no reason to support the company any longer. The products aren't worth it if they aren't really Canadian anymore.

Sorry, but there are better devices designed in India and manufactured in China that we can buy....


This all has to do with saving money. There's a better tax savings when you can expense your lease than when you own and can only expense certain fees like taxes and utilities. I know many people who choose to lease because it makes more financial sense.


They don't have enough market share to not just what they are doing. They need cash. It is one thing to be bitter about being laid off but seriously if people supported them more back in 2013 they would not have to resort to selling their property or cutting staff.

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I heard a number companies are doing the same like Sony & Panasonic etc. These companies know how to survive.

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Nokia did it too. It's just optimized capital allocation into the company's actual business which is tech, not real estate.

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Idk if its good or bad... I just don't wana see blackberry getting vanished all over... #BlackBerryforlife

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Sale-and-leaseback operations are a recent phenomenon!

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)


BlackBerry confirms the sale of much of their copper wiring and copper plumbing in Canada.

Removal and sale before the end if Q3 2014.


Posted via Verizon Z10 running OS v10.2.1.2174


Also, there's an article on CBC on the new company restructuring policy that staff take turns moonlighting as taxi drivers in order to test QNX incar systems and earn some extra cash for the company... it's a great plan I think.

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interesting, any link?

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RP Singh

Wow you got two bites on that one .

Sent from my iPuh-lease-as-IF


Trim the fat and keep things nice and lean then you'll enjoy the best steak you've ever had.

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Doesn't anyone else wonder why there was do much office space to begin with? Sounds like the previous management was out of control.... cost wise, at least.

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D gray

My question is how much land is left?

My Z10 has a Flow

John Kastanes

Transforming the company as it should.



I'm starting to think Silicon Valley will be a new opening for BlackBerry. *pensive* Not really liking the whole idea of shutting down Canadian offices but it has to happen somehow.

Powered by my BlackBerry (Z10). Join my #BBM Channels C001227CF, C00476C37, C003829C9, C002454C9,C002190AC, C00120CE3


Yeah me too. If they start growing again I don't think it will be in Waterloo. Most likely in Silicon Valley.

Brandon Orr

This will definitely not happen. They may open an office in Silicon Valley, but the backlash against the company in Canada (basically one of their last strongholds) will be too much if they moved the entire company or the headquarters to SV.

jojo beaconsfield do what you have to, you must chase the money I can't see this as a good thing for Waterloo,what would they do there?research?Make high end phones?service center with teck students?It's all about networking,wining and dining to survive and thrive.


Did you know University of Waterloo is one of the best engineering schools in the world? There is also Laurier University, University of Guelph and Conestoga College nearby. There are many successful companies and tech startups in the area as well.


Yeah that's all I meant. If expansion occurs they'll put down presence there. I'm not at all saying they will move out of Canada.


Wrong, if they were moving out of canada, there would be a press release already.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.


They are not moving out of Canada. That's not what I meant.


BlackBerry needs to be more nimble and streamline.

This is guerrilla warfare. You are small they are big.

BlackBerry needs to free more cash up to come back.

BlackBerry doesn't need all this real estate because Foxconn is doing the heavy lifting for BlackBerry In terms of manufacturing.

BlackBerry needs to come down hard on those sales reps which are speaking negatively of the company. Fire those who are not onside.

The importance of the Z3 and Q20 cannot be underestimated. For BlackBerry and Foxconn.

This is the ultimate problem - perception


BlackBerry...Get it done!!!

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BlackBerry needs to create an innovation hub outside of Waterloo.

Any takers for Detroit? No Seriously .

The city is bankrupt but deals can be negotiated to your advantage. They need you more than you need them.

BlackBerry needs to control it's own environment.

Industrial espionage is big business.

Stay out of Silicon Valley.

Act like a Vulture and allow the Sharks destroy one another and then clean up.

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Not a bad idea... and there is plenty of cities in Canada that could use a pick me up too... maybe if these Canadian and American cities scrap all minimum wage, labour regulation and environmental standards, we can attract some jobs!

But seriously,this silicon valley thing is not cool for the rest of North America... it's like we have to accept that so many of our brightest and most educated will always jump ship and head there, leaving hollow shells for economies back home.

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This is a good business decision. Now go salvage those major government contracts. MOVE it. I want BlackBerry as a long term viable option for my daily driver.

Loving my Zed 10!!

Alex Keb

The problem is BlackBerry didn't have a problem with cash, they had a problem with declining marketshare.

Don't think that's resolved yet, and won't expect a change until z3 launch and even that is wait and see approach.

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Even though my wife works there, BlackBerry is still over staffed from the old regime .
Too many people working in too many building's.

Z10 on Telus

Prem WatsApp

As long as software development doesn't suffer, I am ok with trimming, if it is necessary.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....


This week BlackBerry laid off engineering teams that will severely impact it's ability to compete long term in the device market. They shut down R&D teams in Waterloo that, as a group, represented a huge store of IPR for modem development and will subject BlackBerry to the vagaries of Qualcomm and other chip set sources vs being able to control their own modem destiny and required bug fixes. The loss of this home grown innovation centre will contribute to the beggaring of the Canadian technological contribution in this the most dynamic sector of the telecommunications industry. It's tragic that this has transpired with little to no outcry.
Real estate? Yeah sure, sell it off, but for God's sake keep the talent that will fuel your return from the ashes. Such a sad tragic week, more so than past reductions.

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Okay, where is the source? No source, I call BULL SHIT.

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I agree, this layoffs was a sign of things to come. Chen plans on outsourcing everything, very little will be done in Waterloo, heck he still doesn't reside there.

Why doesn't he "join the team" and stop the ridiculous commute on that big ole Jet.

Don't see any cuts in the "Corporate Jet" department, do we now?


Good move but let's get marketing started for all Android all from your blackberry 10 browser


James this is news we want to hear. BBRY is a technology company. Real Estate isn't technology. ALL resources need to be dedicated to design, development, production, and sales.


Canadian real estate is a big bubble waiting to burst. Good move to dump it now.

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You are very correct. Canada has not experienced it's bubble burst as if yet.

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A lot if companies lease their real estate. Use the capital to invest in research and support their mission. Owning real estate is no BlackBerry' s mission.


Let's see what the CEO has to say on the 28th.

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This seems more like a move toward an eventually sale. Whoever buys the company in the future probably won't want to deal with selling real estate off.



Blackberry has New consolidated buildings in Waterloo now Blackberry A, B, C and D. These are much bigger and efficient buildings and they have been moving staff there for well over an year now. So not really abandoning Waterloo. Just making good use of assets. Now they wont be leasing any buildings any more because they have all 4 buildings in 1 location

Drew 2

I live near there; are you supposing or is this fact?

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ye i worked there when the started this. Google RIM technology park and look at the 4 buildings son the map. RIM A B C D.

Drew 2

I'm still very disappointed, and as others have mentioned, as to where is the new change in marketing strategies? I still walk through "big box" stores and their tiny BlackBerry displays, if they even have one, are completely absent of BlackBerry phones. Let alone, there is never a working model to be found. Meanwhile, organized Apple displays are always present. When will this change? Oh, and what I am describing is right in Waterloo territory.

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When companies have buckets of money coming in they almost always start getting land and build on it. Something to show how great they are Just look at the vast campuses apple ,Google and Microsoft have.

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I notice a blackberry office being built in Mississauga close to the airport... what is that building going to host, or is it also for sale?

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Not a bad thing, if they aren't using the buildings at all, it makes sense to either sell or lease/rent them out to be honest. That is what I was thinking. Shame I cannot sub lease my own apartment as it breaks the lease. Additional income would be in my wallet if I could.

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But why not lease out those buildings/land to other corporations?

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James - can you comment on how much BB is expecting to make off of this transaction?

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I am an American and I don't want to see BlackBerry move here. One of the reasons I use and trust their products is that they are at least marginally beyond the reach of the strong arm of our government-espionage complex.

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BlackBerry probably moved out already... where majority of BlackBerry (BB10) devices are made anyway?

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No need to own real estate. Major Banks have been liquidating their real estate for years.

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Banks are pariahs and routinely require their account holders sign over their souls.

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3 mio square feet? Wow...

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)


Survival is key to growth.

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Marshall Tigner

I feel shocked Cotton

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I wonder which technology company that has a plan to build over a million sq ft of office building space in California.

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Am I the only one that thinks one day we'll be using full Android devices and that Blackberry will just be a hardware manufacturer. Like Samsung, HTC etc?

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Funny. CBRE is an advisor in this deal. My husband is employed by CBRE. They dumped BB's for their employees and now use iPhone and iPads. Seems like a conflict of interest. Just sayin'.

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Shed employees, shed real estate, soon all the employees that are left (Chen) will fit into a shed!
Who's going to be left to work, provide OS updates, actual new models, marketing (except here in the US, where there is NO marketing and NO sales)?

Javier Briones

Hi, here in Chile, my wife works in a big telecom company. A guy from sales, tell her that BlackBerry was in bankrupt

From my Z10


I'm getting the feeling that sooner or later BlackBerry will leave Canada for good and relocate somewhere where Chen has more of a foothold and connections. I would think somewhere like Hong Kong, Singapore or even mainland China.

Then Chen and Pringle Watsahisname can that much easier break up BlackBerry and sell it outside of the scrutiny and enforcement jurisdiction of both the Canadian and American governments.

That way some parasitical company can get the patents, ideas, tech, research and innovation other people spent decades developing and creating...

In the end Chen and The Cryptkeeper aka Pringle Watsahisname can get rich while the rest of us get fucked over again and are left holding Fuckedberry's shit bucket!

I sure hope I'm wrong on this one because I like BlackBerry and it's products.

Even though I got my ass handed again and again by a company that seems hell bent on alienating all its customers and even it's most diehard supporters and fans, even at this late hour I will still give them one more chance...

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!


Bunch of apologists in here. Totally bad news.

Rocco Iannarelli

Even thought a Yank I feel for my friends in Waterloo. Know how much BlackBerry meant on so many levels to their community and Country. Hopefully better days ahead.

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