Despite being in different industries, BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) and Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) have a lot in common.
First of all, both have seen far better days. BlackBerry once dominated the smartphone market, only to be crushed by the iPhone and Android-based devices. Meanwhile, Bombardier was once a clear leader in the business jet market, but has since been put under strain by the development of its CSeries jets.
Each company even struggled to stay afloat at one point. Luckily, those issues have been largely dealt with, at least for now. BlackBerry received a capital injection from Fairfax in late 2013, while Bombardier raised billions in new funds earlier this year.
Now, their main worries are on the top line. BlackBerry’s revenue is still shrinking, and software-based revenues are falling short of expectations. Meanwhile, Bombardier is well short of its target for CSeries orders, and doesn’t have any momentum in this area.
But if either company turns around, shareholders can experience some big gains. So, why is BlackBerry the better option?
BlackBerry’s advantages over Bombardier
While BlackBerry may be struggling to win sales, it has some strong competitive advantages, as well as some prized assets.
To start with, BlackBerry is the undisputed leader in mobile security, which is of ever-increasing importance. The company’s BBM messaging service has over 90 million active users as of last fall. Its QNX operating system is well positioned in the lucrative Internet of Things market. And let’s not forget about its 44,000 patents.
Combined, these assets are likely worth much more than BlackBerry’s stock price. But here’s the catch: BlackBerry is unable to take full advantage, mainly because it has such a bad brand. The good news is that BlackBerry’s assets and capabilities would be extremely valuable in another company’s hands.
So, it should surprise no one that companies have come knocking on BlackBerry’s door. The most serious discussions occurred in January when unnamed sources said Samsung had made a US$7.5 billion offer. That’s more than 50% higher than BlackBerry’s current market value.
Bombardier’s situation is much worse. Rivals are heavily discounting their single aisle aircraft, putting serious pressure on the CSeries. And it’s working. Both Boeing and Airbus are off to strong starts at the Paris Air Show, announcing nearly US$20 billion (based on list prices) in orders between them. As of this writing, Bombardier has yet to announce any new orders for the CSeries.
Unlike BlackBerry, Bombardier has no prized assets that other companies would covet. And because Bombardier has roughly US$9 billion in debt, no competitor would be interested anyways.
So, if you’re looking for a stock that could turn its fortunes around, Bombardier looks like a much longer shot. Personally, I would opt for BlackBerry.
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair has no position in any stocks mentioned.