As my thinking went, BlackBerry had some prized assets—such as its patent portfolio and its QNX operating system—that potential acquirers would highly covet. It also had a clean balance sheet. Meanwhile, Bombardier was struggling to secure firm orders for its CSeries jet, and the company was burning cash at an alarming rate. Making matters worse, the company had a mountainous debt load.
Since that time, BlackBerry’s shares have declined by roughly 13%. But Bombardier’s stock price has fallen by over 50%. The company’s shares are now so cheap that it has now become a better turnaround opportunity than BlackBerry.
We take a closer look below.
A lot in common
There are many similarities between the two companies. Of course, both of them have seen better days. Both face intense competition from larger companies. Both are struggling to win customers for its flagship products.
There’s one other important similarity: both have assets that would be more valuable in another company’s hands. As mentioned, BlackBerry’s QNX operating system and its patent portfolio would both be valuable in the hands of a tech giant. The same could be said for the company’s leadership in mobile security.
Meanwhile, Bombardier’s CSeries would probably be better off in the hands of a competitor. The company’s larger rivals have been discounting their planes in an attempt to block the CSeries, which doesn’t do anyone any favours. So, if Bombardier sold off the CSeries, it would likely get full value for the program, if not more.
What makes Bombardier a better turnaround stock?
There are two primary reasons why Bombardier is a better turnaround opportunity than BlackBerry.
The first reason is a surprising one: management. This has been a weakness of Bombardier for many years, while BlackBerry CEO John Chen is relatively well respected. But new Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare has shown a willingness to sell off pieces of the company, as evidenced by the upcoming IPO for Bombardier Transportation. He is clearly coming in with a fresh slate, and is not bound by past decisions made at the company. It’s easy to imagine him selling the CSeries program down the line.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chen is still facing an uphill battle over at BlackBerry, but he remains strongly opposed to any sale of the company. He’s likely doing his shareholders a disservice.
The second reason is very simple: Bombardier’s share price has fallen so far that even a partial recovery would yield big returns. For example, if Bombardier’s stock price returns to where it was at the start of this year, then shareholders will more than triple their money.
Granted, Bombardier remains a very risky stock, as does BlackBerry. If you’re looking for a sure bet, be sure to check out the free report below.
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Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair has no position in any stocks mentioned.