BlackBerry agreed to sell 32,000 patents and applications mostly relating to its defunct mobile phone business to a newly-formed division of IP company Key Patent Innovations, a deal which could eventually be worth $900 million.

The former handset giant noted the properties would be transferred to Malikie Innovations for an initial $170 million in cash, with a further guaranteed $30 million three years later and a share of future royalties to a maximum of $700 million.

On signing the deal, BlackBerry terminated an agreement with Catapult IP Innovations which had been announced in early 2022 but looked severely in doubt a few months later when the former device maker announced it was assessing other options for the assets.

The Catapult sale was abandoned yesterday (21 March) as the buyer was unable to secure financing to complete the deal to the seller’s satisfaction.

IP being sold relates primarily to mobile devices, messaging services and wireless networking. The portfolio comprises “substantially all” of the company’s “non-core patents and patent applications”.

BlackBerry noted the sale did not include assets related to its current business, focused on cybersecurity and IoT, and 2,000 standard-essential properties.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO John Chen said once complete, the deal will “further strengthen our balance sheet while simplifying our business and enabling increased focus on our core IoT and cybersecurity opportunities”.