BlackBerry Goes on Sale: Is It Time to Buy the Stock?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Statistically speaking, U.S. stocks were unchanged today, with the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) down 0.12%, while the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) lost just 0.04%. Nevertheless, the day still goes into the loss column, for the S&P 500's fifth down day over the past six days. The last time the index put together such a run was during the last days of 2012, as the end-of-year "fiscal cliff" deadline loomed over the U.S. economy.

Today, the economy and the stock market face two cliffs of sorts: the federal debt ceiling, which the Treasury expects to hit around November, and a "QE slope" -- "cliff" is too abrupt to describe the likely reduction in the Fed's monthly bond purchases later this year ("quantitative easing"). While either of these could easily be the pretext for bursts of stock market volatility over the near to medium term, their probable impact on long-term stock values is essentially zero. Note, for example, that research published today by the San Francisco Fed suggest that QE2, the previous round of quantitative easing, added just 0.04% to GDP.

BlackBerry is in play
By announcing it is "exploring strategic initiatives," BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) is effectively conceding that it can't compete alone in the extraordinarily competitive smartphone market, now dominated by Google's Android and Apple's iPhone platforms. Fancily worded press releases notwithstanding, the bottom line is this: Blackberry is for sale.

Interestingly, Prem Watsa, a Canadian value investor who heads the Berkshire Hathaway-like Fairfax Financial Holdings (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF  ) , resigned from the board today to avoid "potential conflicts of interest." Fairfax Financial is BlackBerry's largest shareholder, with a 9.9% stake. That has led to speculation that Fairfax may try to put together a consortium bid for the handset maker. A group of Canadian banks and pension funds already own an additional 17% of the company.

BlackBerry is down. Who will be left standing as the biggest titans invade one another's turf? At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. If you want to find out which of these giants is set to dominate the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate and give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!

Watsa may model Fairfax on Berkshire, but BlackBerry is highly un-Buffett-like. A loss-making, rapidly declining business in the technology industry? It's the very antithesis of a Berkshire investment/ company.

Investors reacted positively to the news, sending the shares up more than 10% on the day. There is some justification for this, as the announcement shows the board has taken the measure of -- and is acting on -- the company's predicament. Still, this situation remains speculative. With concerns about subscriber flight and uncertainty regarding the value of the company's intellectual property, a sale is far from being a done deal. It's not at all clear that shareholders, including Watsa, will be able to draw some juice from this berry.

BlackBerry is down. Who will be left standing as the biggest titans invade one another's turf? At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. If you want to find out which of these giants is set to dominate the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate and give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Oril wrote:

    Another useless fool article designed to keep a lid on the stock price so the shorts can cover. Today's 10 percent gain coming on top of Fridays proves one thing. That is shorts and investors alike both think the company is undervalued in the face of an impending sale or reorganization.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2013, at 9:02 AM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    Let's have a tin foil hat party!

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