BUSINESS

BlackBerry prepared to buy back up to 2.5% of its public stock float over a year

06/25/2015 07:48 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 05:59 EDT
WATERLOO, Ont. - BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) says it's prepared to buy back and cancel up to 12 million of its common shares over the next year.

Based on the most recent closing price for BlackBerry shares, the buyback program would cost the company about $131.6 million or US$105.9 million.

However, the amount the company actually pays will depend on the how many shares it buys and the prices paid on the Toronto or Nasdaq stock markets.

BlackBerry says the share buyback program would begin on June 29 and run for 12 months. As of June 22, the company had nearly 529.5 million shares outstanding and the buyback would represent 2.5 per cent of the public float.

Its shares briefly spiked to a 52-week high of C$15.10 in January in Toronto but are currently near their 2015 lows. They closed Wednesday at $10.97 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry posted an adjusted loss of US$28 million or five cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, worse than analyst expectations of a three-cent per share loss, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Revenues of $658 million were about $21 million softer than analysts anticipated.

However, BlackBerry executive chairman John Chen said there was no plan to sell the company any time soon.

"Oh no, not at this price," he said, in response to a question about whether the company was looking for suitors.

In Thursday's announcement, before stock markets opened, Chen said the share buyback program would offset an increase in the number of shares available under the company's incentive plans.

"We intend to take advantage of our strong cash position to purchase our shares when the market price does not reflect what we view to be the underlying value and future prospects of our business, without adversely affecting our strategic initiatives," Chen said.

As of May 30, when BlackBerry's first quarter ended, the company had $2.07 billion of cash and cash equivalents, net of debt. Free cash flow for the quarter, after accounting for capital spending, was $123 million.

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