BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) doesn’t have many boosters these days, but President Barack Obama continues to be a big fan, and his continued use through the latest National Security Agency scandal is subtle reminder of BlackBerry’s main strength – security. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams pointed out that Obama can have any phone that he wants and he hasn’t switched to an iPhone even though BlackBerrys are on their way out. (H/T Felix Gillette).
Obama using BlackBerry
For most people, choosing a phone is largely about aesthetics and personal preference, but the President knows that he is one of the most valuable targets for espionage in the world. And as we’re all aware, the NSA has proven that world leaders aren’t immune from having their phones tapped. “Knowing other countries would be interested in listening to his phone calls, he ended up using one of the most secure BlackBerrys on earth,” said counterterrorism expert Michael Leiter.
It’s a symbolic victory, but it’s the first in a long time, so BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) may as well make the most of it.
Prem Watsa trying to take BlackBerry private
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is still trying to figure out what its next step is going to be since continuing on as a publicly traded company has become untenable. Canadian value investor Prem Watsa, who has been closely linked to BlackBerry and its hometown Waterloo, is interested in taking BlackBerry private, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to raise enough money. Even though he has unending faith in the company, getting banks and investors to agree with him is going to be challenging. The other option is to break up BlackBerry’s profitable units and valuable intellectual property, and corporate security is a major selling point for both. There have been rumors that BlackBerry is telling other major IT firms that it is now willing to be broken up and sold piecemeal, something that was unthinkable a year ago.
We’re still a few weeks away from knowing if Watsa will make good on his original offer of $9/share, or if he will try to negotiate the price down, but BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s security bona fides are going to be a big part of whatever deal finally emerges.