BlackBerry Ltd. announced today that it plans to split its business into two — one company for its cybersecurity business and another for its internet of things business, which it aims to take public in an initial public offering next year.
The decision to split its existing business came after a review of its portfolio of businesses, launched in conjunction with Morgan Stanley & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners LP in May, found that splitting the existing business “is the optimal strategic direction for BlackBerry.”
The key finding of the review, which went under the name of “Project Imperium,” was to pursue a subsidiary initial public offering for the IoT business. That business designs and creates high-performance, safety-critical foundational software in automotive and other industries.
“BlackBerry believes that a separately-traded IoT subsidiary will enable shareholders to more clearly evaluate the performance and future potential of BlackBerry’s principal businesses on a standalone basis while allowing each business to pursue its own distinct strategy and capital allocation policy,” the company said in a statement.
Other objectives identified in the review will continue to be pursued by BlackBerry as it launches activities to separate its principal businesses.
Founded in 1984 under the name of Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s story is a well-told one — a company that was once a leader in connected mobile phones until it was famously late to the party with smartphones and had its once-thriving mobile phone business mostly disappear in the space of five years.
Despite no longer being a household name, in the years since, BlackBerry has focused on cybersecurity and IoT and has found success in connected IoT technology. IoT customers in the automotive space that use BlackBerry’s QNX technology solution include BMW Group, Robert Bosch GmH, Continental AG, Dongfeng Motor Corp. Ltd., Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Volvo Car Corp.
As of its latest quarterly financial report, BlackBerry reported IoT revenue of $49 million in its fiscal second quarter ended Aug. 31 and cybersecurity revenue of $79 million. The initial reaction from investors to the news has been positive, with BlackBerry shares up over 4% in late trading. BlackBerry closed regular trading with a market cap of $2.49 billion.
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