BlackBerry's $1B financing deal with Fairfax completed

BlackBerry Ltd. has completed the $1-billion US financing that the smartphone company announced early this month after Fairfax Financial scaled down a larger plan to buy the company outright.

BlackBerry Ltd. has completed the $1-billion US financing that the smartphone company announced early this month after Fairfax Financial scaled down a larger plan to buy the company outright.

According to regulatory filings, more than half of the money came from two institutional investors: $300 million from Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. of Richmond Hill, Ont., and $250 million from Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., BlackBerry's largest shareholder.

Fairfax and the other investors have another 30 days to buy an additional $250 million of the interest-paying notes, which can be used to buy BlackBerry shares for $10 US each.

BlackBerry shares were at $6.77 Cdn in Toronto and $6.475 US on Nasdaq, where most of the company's shares are traded, down from $7.77 US on Nov. 1, before Fairfax changed its proposal.

BlackBerry announced it was no longer seeking a buyer and would continue as an independent publicly-traded company, indirectly acknowledging that Fairfax hadn't found support for a $4.7-billion deal that required a group of investors to pay $9 per share in cash.

Funds managed by Mackenzie Financial invested $200 million, $100 million came from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, $70 million from Virginia-based Markel Corp. and $10 million from Brookfield Asset Management of Toronto, according to a Nov. 8 filing.

Funds managed by Manulife Financial Corp. also invested $70 million to acquire BlackBerry's convertible debt, which can be exchanged for shares of the company under certain conditions.

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