Of all the stocks on the S&P/TSX 60, BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) may be the most polarizing. Some investors believe the stock is poised to double (or better), while others believe the stock will crash. The reality is, nobody knows for sure.
That being the case, there are a couple of things we can be reasonably sure of with BlackBerry. First, there is very little momentum on the top line, something which is difficult to reverse in less than a year. Second, BlackBerry’s underlying assets are extremely valuable, something not entirely reflected in the company’s stock price.
With that in mind, I would wait at least a year before buying BlackBerry’s shares. We take a closer look at why below.
CEO John Chen deserves much credit for getting BlackBerry’s turnaround started. He’s also set some pretty ambitious revenue goals—most notably, he is aiming for US$500 million in software-related revenue this fiscal year.
That now looks unlikely. Software revenue would have to more than double in just a year and overtake some better-established rivals. The competition is also strengthening. For example, Microsoft Corporation is going after BlackBerry’s software customers, even offering some services for free. Even worse, some analysts have reported (based on their own surveys) that BlackBerry’s software offering is having trouble catching on.
BlackBerry’s other divisions aren’t faring much better—in the most recent quarter, revenue fell short of expectations across the board. At this point, one has to wonder if the company’s brand is beyond repair.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s stock has performed well and is up more than 50% in the past year. So, the investment community seems much more optimistic than I am. If I’m right, the stock could be in for a rough ride over the next 12 months.
Beneath the surface, BlackBerry has some very valuable assets. Its portfolio of over 44,000 patents is likely worth billions. Its QNX operating system is well positioned in the Internet of Things (IoT) market. And most important is its undisputed lead in security.
Many have speculated that these assets would be more valuable in the hands of another company. I would agree. For example, Samsung has been struggling to gain entry in the enterprise market, and has also been battling Apple Inc. in various legal disputes. BlackBerry’s security capabilities and patent portfolio would be a big help in these areas.
Playing the waiting game
This is why Samsung made an offer for BlackBerry earlier this year. Unfortunately for the Korean giant, its offer was seen as too low and was rejected. But if BlackBerry continues to struggle, an acquisition may once again be in the cards. Only at that point would I want to own the company’s shares. Until then, it’s best just to stay patient.
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