BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) is a company that has so far just refused to die. Its market share has dwindled to the league of irrelevant versus iPhone and Android, but CEO John Chen has been a beacon of hope in his turnaround efforts. Now that there have been more reports that a possible approach by Samsung, 24/7 Wall St. has one serious question for BlackBerry investors to consider:
How much could BlackBerry really fetch in a buyout?
A report from Reuters broke on Wednesday that sent BlackBerry shares handily higher. The market talk is that Samsung approached BlackBerry regarding a potential merger, and the numbers thrown out there by CNBC were $13.35 to $15.49 per share. The Reuters report indicated that this was close to $7.5 billion.
We noted in late December that TD Securities in Canada issued a $13 price target. This was after slow device sales acted as a drag on revenue. Also, we named BlackBerry as a brand that was likely to disappear in 2015.
As a reminder, BlackBerry buyout rumors have surfaced before. Lenovo has been a rumored buyer, and some market pundits have named other would-be suitors as well, including its founders and private equity. The continued talk is that BlackBerry would be acquired as a software and security play for smartphones rather than for its former glory days. After all, most consumers just don’t want keyboards. BlackBerry is continually called the de facto leader when it comes to security, and with all the hack attacks and data breaches it is amazing that the public hasn’t been more proactive.
With BlackBerry shares up almost 20% at $11.70 on high volume late on Wednesday, we could not help but notice that the consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters is $9.67. It appears that one analyst still has a price target all the way up at $17.00 for the shares. BlackBerry’s 52-week trading range is $7.01 to $12.54.
How real is a buyout of BlackBerry? While we would warn readers that this needs to be treated as a rumor until further information is available, we would also warn that Canadian (and perhaps U.S.) regulators might raise a red flag over approving a BlackBerry buyout from one of the top Asian technology companies. Too many enterprise clients in U.S. and Canadian governments rely on BlackBerry for secure smartphone communications.