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Qatar invests in BlackBerry debt scheme

Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund buys up $200m in convertible notes

BlackBerry abandoned a plan to sell itself in favour of a $1bn convertible note scheme.
BlackBerry abandoned a plan to sell itself in favour of a $1bn convertible note scheme.

Qatari sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding LLC has invested as much as $200m in BlackBerry’s convertible note offering, Reuters reported.

The troubled Canadian smartphone vendor abandoned a plan to sell itself earlier this week and instead opted for raising $1bn through the convertible debt scheme. Its largest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings has already agreed to buy $250m.

Wary of the company’s uncertain future following its abandonment of the sale plan, the market punished BlackBerry stock, which saw a 16% slide on Monday. At its peak the Waterloo Ontario firm had a market cap of over $80bn, but Monday’s slump, the latest in a five-year downturn, left that figure at just under $3.4bn.

An insider familiar with the financing plan said the size of the coupon is what attracted Qatar Holding to the investment. The Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund has been notably active in recent years, pouring some of the proceeds of its natural gas reserves into stable international companies such as Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell and jewellery maker Tiffany & Co.

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