Why BlackBerry Shares Plummeted

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Steve Symington
Steve Symington
Sep 20, 2013 at 5:23PM
Technology and Telecom

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

What: Shares of BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) plunged by nearly 24%, then partially recovered to close down 17% after the smartphone maker announced preliminary fiscal second-quarter-2014 results. 

So what: Quarterly revenue is expected to come in at just $1.6 billion, badly missing average analysts' estimates, which called for sales of $3.06 billion. Meanwhile, BlackBerry's adjusted quarterly net loss will be in the range of $250 million to $265 million, or $0.47 to $0.51 per diluted share, also falling significantly short of expectations for an adjusted loss of $0.15 per share. 

That said, BlackBerry also stated that, as a consequence of weak device sales and "more intense competition" in its hardware business, it will report a primarily non-cash, pre-tax inventory charge of $930 million to $960 million. In addition, the company is laying off approximately 4,500 employees, or 40% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring effort aimed at reducing operating expenditures by 50% by the end of the fiscal first quarter 2015. As a result, BlackBerry's GAAP net loss is expected to be in the range of $950 million to $995 million, or $1.81 to $1.90 per share.

Now what: Today's results understandably came as a shock for investors who were looking toward BlackBerry's official quarterly announcement next Friday.

Management will have plenty of explaining to do then, but it seems safe to say that investors' focus will now shift to who might be interested in buying the various parts of BlackBerry's business going forward. However, I still think investors would be wise to tread lightly here, and remember, even that's not a sure thing.