Is this finally the beginning of the end for BlackBerry?
After announcing that it would lay off close to half of its workforce and getting killed by last week’s whopper of an earnings warning, struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry may soon be acquired by a consortium led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial.
The going-in price? $9 a share -- way way below BlackBerry's price in the years before the iPhone ate its lunch.
The company's shares closed below that number, however, suggesting that investors don't see much upside just yet despite trading volume that was close to triple the daily average.
Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa, who has a longstanding reputation as a value investor, plans to take a page out of Dell's book by taking the company private and refocussing it on the business market.
But that's not going to be easy.
The hope is that pulling away from the stock market's glare will ease pressure from investors and give the struggling firm time to concentrate on the "prosumer" market that it once dominated. Under Fairfax, for instance, BlackBerry wouldn't need to release an innovative device every few months to keep up with the likes of Samsung and Apple.
If that doesn't work, however, this is likely the last gasp for what was once an iconic brand in mobile technology, analysts suggest.
"Can BlackBerry ultimately survive? That's not as clear," says research firm J. Gold Associates. "But given six to 12 months of 'under the cover' ability to do what is needed, it could be a much more attractive acquisition target at the very least."
Some analysts, pegging the true vale at closer to $12 a share, believe a competing bid may still be possible, possibly led by BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis.
But Global Securities strategist Elvis Picardo isn't one of them: "I would think a competing buyout offer is quite unlikely. The miniscule premium, and the muted market reaction, is another indication that the market views the odds of a competing bid as slim."
Even a competing bid would be cold comfort for loyal investors, maintains the New Yorker's Vauhini Vara: "There’s a difference between a product that persists among a relatively small group of diehard loyalists and one that, like the iPhone, is deeply embedded in consumer culture."
"Even if BlackBerry technically exists for some time, it’s unlikely to ever again capture us the way it did in its early years."
Is this the last gasp for another Canadian technology company? Or do you feel that BlackBerry can rebound once again?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: George Brown | Sep 24, 2021 12:10:18 PM
It's...................... DEEEEEAAADDDDDD !!!
Posted by: Frank Lee | Sep 24, 2021 12:31:20 PM
I hate to say it as a proud Canadian but if Blackberry wanted to succeed in the long run they should have moved their location. Cities like Seattle (Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon) or Silicon Valley (Facebook, Google, Apple etc) are where you need to be if you are going to succeed in high tech in the long run. With a good idea you can get started in Ontario like Blackberry, Nortel and Corel did. But to compete globally you need to be able to atttract human talent for decades. And if you want to get the talent you need to put them in a city where they are going to want to live. BB should have moved their technical and high talent jobs to a west coast city like the major tech companies (Facebook started on the east coast but moved to the west coast). Then at least the company could have saved some jobs in Ontario. It might have even kept the whole company Canadian if it moved to Vancouver...only 200 miles from Seattle. Just sayin'
Posted by: Bryan Jaskolka | Sep 24, 2021 2:27:36 PM
Changing their location would not have helped this company. What would have is staying true to their original vision and creating a product that focused on the business sector instead of trying to be a replicate of Apple, which took them long enough to get on board with. I'm more surprised by a "proud Canadian" saying that there are no good people in Ontario. Yes, they should feel shame. Deep, deep shame.
Posted by: Les | Sep 25, 2021 4:01:19 AM
Guys - give it a break. Canada kept publishing "hope" about Blackberry when it was on its deathbed a year ago. It's been second page news for a long time everywhere else in the world. I travel extensively around the world and Blackberry made one mistake after another and customers just ran from them over the last year or two. Only the Canadian news kept touting a "myopic" Blackberry. Even the new leadership seemed to be totally ignorant of the rest of the world. The new phones were so over priced in India no one wanted them and complaints were all over the place right after the new phones were introduced there. Indonesia switched so fast to Samsung while Blackberry sat back and fought back like a mouse assuming customers would stay when there were Samsung promos everywhere. International companies need an international focus - and know how other markets "think" and act., and to respond - not ignore it. Blackberry couldn't even look outside its offices. Even for the USA market, you would think they would know it better. And THAT is sad. The American's are not the only country that can't understand the world sometimes - Canadians often suffer from the same self righteous myiopia and need to be on guard against that. In business, you cant just have a "vision" without communicating it properly. You cant ignore how each of your markets react. I really don't know what there is to be proud of here .... it's sad but this was a company that should have changed years ago, as the new leadership was a joke from the beginning - the rest of the world knew it. Why didn't Canada? Blackberry never had a chance.
Posted by: Lester | Sep 25, 2021 11:07:53 AM
All you have to do is look around at what the kids are using, it is not Blackberry product. Someone said a long time ago "What shares should I buy?" Buy shares in what people have in their homes, in their driveways, and use every day, the young generation will not tolerate products and systems that do not work.
Posted by: Crucked Banks ! | Sep 25, 2021 12:17:27 PM
Not just banks and corrupted people like Bernie from Royal Bank with no education and empty brains working in places where they don't belongs. Someone else going to do they job ? Stupid people was placed to this positions with daddy or their friends and companies bankrupting with your money and jobs are lost. Who is responsible for all this irresponsible Canadian systems in our Country ? Life is to short to do over and over stupidity and place wrong people in wrong places.
Posted by: Frank Lee | Sep 25, 2021 12:50:09 PM
@ Bryan Jasolka...I think you kind of made my point. Blackberry had like a 4 year head start in the smartphone market, a great brand and billions in the bank but they blew it because of bad decisions and product development. High tech business is about having world class people...it's not about having oil in the ground or billions of dollars worth of machinery. It's about having having the brightest people in the world making decisions and developing products. The bad decisions you spoke of were made by people in Waterloo. People in places like San Francisco, Seattle and Korea have made the right decision and they are surviving while Blackberry is dying.
@ Les, I kind of agree with your point. We Canadians like to think we are the best and brightest in the world but most of our high tech/manufacturing industries are either a) small scale, b) subsidized (Bombardier), c) headquartered in other countries (auto manufacturing) or d) short lived (Corel, Blackberry). We patriotically believe that BB is great even though no one else in the world believes it...many of us still think there was a conspiracy to kill the Avro Arrow. The reality is our high tech has always struggled because we over-estimate our abilities and locate these industries in places where it is hard to attract talent. My buddy was top electronics engineer who had the opportunity to move to Ontario, Seattle, Amsterdam, Vancouver and San Francisco. He said "why would I move to Ontario when I could go to all those other places?" (he chose Seattle). And that is what thousands of top people think. Do you think some top notch big shot wants to move his family from Seattle or San Fran to move to Ontario? Probably not. (And even if he does, his wife won't.) If we're trying to compete with Seattle and San Francisco for top talent in the long run we need to locate these industries in places where top talent want to live.
Posted by: mike dubois | Sep 25, 2021 12:50:23 PM
What killed Blackberry market share and many others was that the smart phone got into the hands of the consumer and Apple nailed what the consumer wanted at the right time. For whatever reason, RIM decided to stick with its version when the gadget driven consumer went with the newer gizmo. RIM then was being surpassed by other POWERHOUSES with far deeper pockets all getting onto the VHS of phones namely Android which the public then was comparing to Apple. The introduction of the Aps and the ease at which developers could make them for the other OS, left RIM behind in the now consumer turned smart phone business. Their last effort should not have been a "me too" product.
The new company doesn't have to move nor should it introduce anything UNLESS its totally revolutionary if it approaches the consumer market. The article coined the perfect market niche for Blackberry: Prosumer.
Message to Blackberry: Go talk to your New Product Development departments and review new product ideas. They likely hold the answers. Your middle management is reacting to sitting on their stuff yet the answer to something new lies in their files.
Scan these for a B2B prospect and go to town on something that can be a Blackberry only product and sew up a niche.
There is no way to try to keep up with Samsung, HTC, Google, Apple etc. as evidenced by so many other once dominating firms such as Nokia, Motorola Erricson etc.
Posted by: Gene Zbuda | Sep 25, 2021 12:56:42 PM
University of Waterloo is renowned for its engineers - Microsoft, Apple... all hire Waterloo graduates (even though I went to another university). I worked for Nortel when it was good - a Canadian company that was slowly pushed to the US mindset of quarterly profits that led to bad acquisitions and then the end. Blackberry still has some money and they laid off the employees to survive. They're Z10 beats everything in the market (in my opinion) but it is too little too late for the consumer market because it is seen as a dead product that nobody wants to show off.I hope proprietary Blackberry technology (keyboard, Blackberry OS based on QNX, Blackberry Enterprise Server BES, Blackberry Messenger BBM and a whole stack of trademarks/licensing do not go to waist the way that Nortel LTE technology was "sold" to Ericsson for nothing. This could happen to Blackberry but it would be a waste of effort by amazing Canadian, American, and people from all over the world who work and worked at Blackberry to bring it to where it got, then management made some mistakes, then they worked to try to rebuild... All the best Blackberry folk. The investment vultures are just waiting, hopefully you can last.
Posted by: Nightrider | Sep 25, 2021 1:04:32 PM
Strike 1: I saw this long time coming. They were sleeping at the controls when Steve Jobs was announcing iPhone. A nimble company would have known the direction in which technology is heading.
Strike 2: And then... their operating system? What were they thinking? They were reinventing the wheel. It won't fly. It didn't fly.
Strike 3: Their tablet and the phone would not even talk to each other. That, I said is the last nail on their coffin. Done like dinner. Right there.
Outta here................!!! We Canadians can cry in our beer. But this company is toast - Like Nortel.
Posted by: Frank Lee | Sep 25, 2021 1:07:12 PM
@ Mike Dubois. Do you really think that Blackberry will survive without moving (or at least outsourcing) it's top people? Do you think it's a coincidence that most of the long running hi tech companies are located on the Pacific in places like Seattle, San Francisco or Asia? Where are the dying companies you mentioned headquartered? Nokia is from Finland. MOtorola is from Chicago...not exactly the kind of places top people are dying to move to. It's no coincidence they fail. If you told people you were going to start a high tech company in Flin Flon, MB people would laugh at you. It was only slightly smarter to start Blackberry in Waterloo. There is a reason why real estate is cheap there.
Posted by: Frank Lee | Sep 25, 2021 1:15:37 PM
@ Gene Zbuda. Thanks for your insight. I don't doubt that Waterloo produces excellent engineers. And I am not surprised that so many of them accept jobs at Microsoft and Apple. That is exactly my point. If I was a young top notch engineer and could move to Seattle or San Francisco I would do it too.
Posted by: Denis | Sep 25, 2021 2:08:16 PM
@Crucked Banks, I'm not sure what your point is in all that post secondary education blurb you had us read. Your spelling and grammar is right out of it. I have grade 9 education and I hope you have less, or you may want to go back to school. Bernie at the Royal Bank ....lol... you should not be sharing your views with your mental ability. Go to school my friend, and for gods sake not the one you went to. Ask your Grand Mother, let her choose.
Posted by: Jay | Sep 25, 2021 3:25:19 PM
First off I feel that BlackBerry may not have lost so much money if they had not made the expenditure on changing the name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry. Secondly, their production department went way to fast in producing new models of smartphones before the wireless industry could catch up with the newest technology. There is so much competition in the smartphone industry it is not even funny. It seems that BlackBerry is creating and releasing a new smartphone every week. There is Apple who is leading the pack with their line of iPhones, iPads, etc. and other leading manufacturers such as Samsung and LG who are also getting into and producing smartphones. Another thing is that young people (teenagers to 20 somethings) are not even interested in BlackBerry smartphones since Apple released their product line and all of the features and apps that are available. BlackBerry I feel is mostly directed towards top executives in successful companies and at times may not be very reliable in terms of software and if the operating systems crash because of system overloads then what? You are pooched if you lose any important data or information. I never have and never will own a BlackBerry smartphone as I find them too complicated to use. With BlackBerry there are way too many features and settings for the phone to operate properly. I own a smartphone manufactured by LG and am very happy with it as it meets my requirements, the software is straight forward and I don't have to jump from feature to feature or setting. If BlackBerry does eventually cease to exist may they R.I.P.
Posted by: Nightrider | Sep 25, 2021 4:21:58 PM
RIM failed to embrace future in time. Plain and simple. RIM....? RIP.
Posted by: Crucket banks ! | Sep 26, 2021 2:01:16 PM
@ Denis, my ground mother was warning me to avoid people with name Bernie for all prices in your life .
Posted by: Fred | Sep 27, 2021 4:04:20 PM