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Why BlackBerry Shares Skyrocketed Today

By Evan Niu, CFA - Apr 12, 2017 at 11:41AM

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The Canadian company scores a legal payday through arbitration.

What happened

Shares of BlackBerry (BB -3.70%) have skyrocketed today, up by 15% as of 11:15 a.m. EDT, after the company announced that it has been awarded $815 million.

So what

BlackBerry says that a binding interim arbitration decision has awarded it $815 million that it is owed by Qualcomm (QCOM -2.33%) due to royalty overpayments. The final award, including interest and legal costs, will be issued after a hearing scheduled for May 30, 2017. The news comes nearly a year after the two companies agreed to arbitrate a dispute over royalties in April 2016. At issue was whether or not a royalty cap agreement applied to a specific license agreement.

Two Qualcomm Snapdragon processors next to a penny

Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. Image source: Qualcomm.

Now what

"BlackBerry and Qualcomm have a long-standing relationship and continue to be valued technology partners," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen. "We are pleased the arbitration panel ruled in our favor and look forward to collaborating with Qualcomm in security for ASICs and solutions for the automotive industry."

Qualcomm's licensing business has been under scrutiny recently, as a number of antitrust regulatory agencies around the world have been investigating its practices, while Apple has also started a global legal battle alleging that Qualcomm has acted anti-competitively. While the specific details of the agreements are unclear, the arbitration decision seems to support the notion that Qualcomm does at times overcharge for royalties.

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