BlackBerry Ltd to buy Cylance for $1.4 billion

BlackBerry Ltd raised its bets on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity on Friday with the $1.4 billion purchase of California-based machine-learning specialists Cylance.

The Canadian technology company, which dominated the smartphone market a decade ago, has shifted to selling software to manage mobile devices, as well as emerging areas like autonomous cars, reports Reuters.

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Privately owned Cylance uses machine learning to preempt security breaches before they occur. Its applications seek to block malware or infiltration attempts rather than react after a breach.

Cylance

Cylance, which has over 3,500 active enterprise customers, had been considering filing for a stock market floatation, according to a report in Business Insider.

“Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a statement.

The California-based company’s Chief Executive Stuart McClure, in turn, said it would be able to leverage Blackberry’s strength in mobile communications and security to adapt its AI technology.

Besides the $1.4 billion that BlackBerry will pay, the deal also includes the assumption of Cylance’s unvested employee incentives, BlackBerry said.

Cylance will continue to operate as a separate business unit after the deal closes, BlackBerry said. The deal is expected to close by Feb 2019.

U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry were marginally up in light pre-market trading.

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