BlackBerry Buys Cybersecurity Company Cylance Inc. For $1.4 Billion U.S.

BlackBerry Ltd., (TSX: BB) the former smartphone maker that’s now focused on producing software for driverless vehicles, has announced that it is buying cybersecurity company Cylance Inc. for $1.4 billion U.S.

BlackBerry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said the acquisition of Cylance would enable it to add artificial intelligence capabilities to its existing software products. It said the all-cash deal would close before the end of its current fiscal year in February 2019. The acquisition is BlackBerry’s largest in seven years, according to Bloomberg News.

Cylance, based in Irvine, California, makes Artificial Intelligence software designed to protect mobile devices, tablets and other internet-connected devices from cyberattacks. BlackBerry stopped designing smartphones completely in 2016 after struggling to keep pace with competition from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. It’s been trying to reinvent itself as a provider of software for driverless vehicles and Internet-of-Things products.

Cylance said in June that its annual revenue in 2018 was $130 million U.S. and was growing at close to 90%. It said that more than 3,500 businesses were using its products. The California company has received about $300 million U.S. in venture capital funding from investors, including Khosla Ventures and Insight Venture Partners. Its last funding round was in June of this year, when Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Fund invested $120 million U.S. in the company.