The decision of Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) to sell some of its stockholding in the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer is a “smart move,” according to two analysts covering the stock.
Daniel Ernsts, analyst at Hudson Square Research said, “It’s smart for him to sell now, while it’s still a liquid stock.”
On the other hand, Charter Equity Research analyst, Edward Snyder shared the same opinion and noted that the founders are the most ardent believers of a possible turnaround and the last to acknowledge that the company they founded could be trapped in a death spiral. Snyder said, “I think they’re finally seeing the writing on the wall.”
BlackBerry stock price spikes upon Lazaridis’ stake reduction
Based on his regulatory filing on Christmas Eve, Lazaridis decided to reduce his stake in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) when the stock price of the smartphone manufacturer experienced a sudden spike of 24% last week.
The stock surged due to the company’s announcement that it entered into a strategic partnership with Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd (TPE:2354) to develop and manage the inventory for certain BlackBerry products. The initial focus of the partnership is to develop smartphones for consumers in emerging markets.
Lazaridis sold 3,166,893 shares of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) at an average price of $7.55 per share. He also sold 333,107 shares at an average price of $7.63 per share. He still owns 26,267,887 shares or under 5% stake in the company. According to Forbes, Lazaridis’ takeaway from the sale was approximately $26.5 million.
Lazaridis’ proposal to acquire BlackBerry
Last October, Lazaridis and his fellow co-founder Douglas Fregin indicated their intention to submit a joint proposal to acquire BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) when the company tried to sell itself. The co-founders abandoned their plan to take over the company based on the latest regulatory filing.
Last month, the Canadian smartphone manufacturer said it is no longer selling itself and hired John Chen as new CEO to help turn around its business. Chen is committed to reclaiming the success of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB).
Mark McKechnie, analyst at Evercore Partners, commented that Lazaridis could have been smarter if he sold his stake in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) three years ago when the stock was trading around $70 per share. According to him, “If you’ve held on for this long and are optimistic that there is some value to the assets, you should see what this new management team will do.”