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BlackBerry CEO Chen is prepping company for sale, says Cormark

Cormark analyst Richard Tse notes that BlackBerry's margins increased after outsourcing its hardware manufacturing to Taiwan's Foxconn.

Cormark analyst Richard Tse notes that BlackBerry’s margins increased after outsourcing its hardware manufacturing to Taiwan’s Foxconn.

Since taking the helm at BlackBerry (TSX:BB), CEO John Chen has sold assets, divested of hardware, and focused on the enterprise and software aspects of BlackBerry’s business.

All these actions point to one intended result, says Cormark. “We continue to believe John Chen is taking BlackBerry into the direction for an eventual sale,” offered analyst Richard Tse in a research update to clients this morning.

The Cormark analyst today reiterated his “Buy” rating and $11.50 one-year target on BlackBerry. He says his valuation methodology is based on a take-out scenario. His sum-of-the-parts assessment includes assigning value to the company’s messaging and Mobile Device Management businesses, its intellectual property, and cash from potential tax refunds.

On Friday, BlackBerry reported its Q4 and fiscal 2014 results. The company lost $423-million, or $0.80 a share on revenue of $976-million, essentially in-line with Tse’s expectations of a $0.78 loss on revenue of $913-million.

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Tse says that while BlackBerry’s Q4 results were mixed, he now sees more positives than he does negatives. He notes that the company’s adjusted gross margin increased to 43% from 34% in Q3, a number he views as having the potential to expand further in light of the company’s recent outsource of its hardware manufacturing to Taiwan’s Foxconn.

BlackBerry’s subscriber base is falling, but Tse says it declined less than he expected, sitting at approximately 50-million instead of the 45-million mark he had anticipated. BlackBerry is still in a race against the clock, but this slower than expected decline buys the company some time to renew its relevance to the enterprise market, he says.

Tse believes the “blue-sky” opportunity on BlackBerry is that it becomes a niche player in the mobile device management market, where he says he could see the company generating more than $1.50 in earnings from a subscriber base of 15-million.

Tse also believes there is a chance for a rebound in BlackBerry’s revenue, led by its new Z3 device.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

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