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Fairfax shovels another $250m into buying BlackBerry debt

Canadian firm's largest shareholder provides another cash injection

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BlackBerry backer Fairfax Financial is set to buy another $250m of its convertible debentures, which should give the ailing mobile firm a much-needed shot in the arm.

The companies said that Fairfax's generosity was part of an additional debenture option as part of BlackBerry's successful placement of $1bn worth of debentures back in November last year. By taking up the offer, Fairfax will double its holdings in BlackBerry debt, having bought another $250m in the November round.

If the debentures were converted to shares, it could increase the number of stocks in the firm by nearly 20 per cent.

Fairfax is already the Canadian mobile firm's biggest stakeholder, clutching around ten per cent of the company, and last year led a consortium that tried to buy out the business for $4.7bn.

But BlackBerry surprised everyone when the deal was dropped at the last minute in favour of the billion-dollar funding round instead.

At the same time, the company dumped CEO Thorsten Heins and made John Chen interim chief. Chen has since talked up ambitious plans to make BlackBerry the darling of the corporate world once more. ®

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