BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is up for sale, but no buyers have made an offer for the company public just yet. There are several problems with a BlackBerry acquisition: analysts and investors don’t seem sure how a prospective buyer will price the company.
The problem with valuing BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) stems from the many different motives an actor might have in buying the company. If board member Prem Watsa decides to take control of the Canadian Handset maker, he will probably be looking to reinvigorate its smartphone business. A big technology company could buy the company looking for its patents and software.
According to a new report from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, the board at BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has four real options going forward. Those options are a Leveraged Buyout, a strategic, splitting up the company into three parts, or selling the company as a whole. One important factor that many are overlooking, according to Misek, is the role of the Canadian government in the sale.
In order to preserve pensions and employment, the Canadian government has a real interest in keeping BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) going. The Canadian government is likely, in Misek’s opinion, to help a Canadian investor looking to take BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) in a leveraged buyout.
The companies that are likely to want BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) for strategic reasons include Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Samsung, according to Misek. Microsoft would like to sew up the enterprise smartphone business and become the definitive number 3 player, and Samsung may want options to break from Google in future.
The break-up option is one of the most intriguing. Misek reckons that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) could be split into three parts: BlackBerry Messaging, OS and consumer handsets, and the enterprise, server and device management business.
This split could bring the greatest value to shareholders in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), but it would be difficult to accomplish. The company itself has already moved in this direction, however, and tried to make BBM stand on its own.
Shares in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) are almost entirely based on what a buyer might pay for the company. Short term problems or successes in the company’s business are unlikely to hugely impact the price paid for shares, because no investor will be looking to buy the company as it is today. Misek puts a price target of $15 on the company, but shares are trading at just above $10.