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BlackBerry: This Dog Won't Bite

Alex Dumortier, CFA
October 2, 2013

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.

Despite Wall Street CEOs taking their concerns regarding the impact of an extended government shutdown or a technical default directly to President Obama today, the market appears to be taking things in stride for now. Stocks fell out of bed this morning, but by the end of the session, the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) was roughly unchanged, with a 0.1% loss. The narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) lost 0.4%.

Investor concern was more visible in the equity options market, as the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: ^VIX) fell back 6.8% today, to close at 16.60. The VIX, Wall Street's "fear index," is calculated from S&P 500 option prices and reflects investor expectations for stock market volatility over the coming 30 days.

BlackBerry's new suitor is less than that
Shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) managed to buck the broad market's trend today with a 0.5% gain. Investors appear to be cautiously endorsing reports that private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management may be interested in acquiring the ailing smartphone maker. Last month, a consortium headed by Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial signed a letter of intent to buy BlackBerry for $9 per share, valuing the company at $4.7 billion. Cerberus is no stranger to distressed assets: It bought Chrysler Group LLC in 2007, in what turned into its worst, most public failed investment.

However, the news is not much to hang your hat on. According to The Wall Street Journal, Cerberus aims to sign a confidentiality agreement that would enable it to inspect BlackBerry's books. That's only evidence of the minimum degree of interest from a potential acquirer ("potential" being the operative word).