Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) shares may not be worth the paper they’re written on, according to a new report. The report, which comes from Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) analyst Kulbinder Garcha, reviews the company’s options going forward. The results will be disappointing for any still holding stock in the handset manufacturer.
Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) shares have fallen to such lows in the last twelve months, that some investors have re-examined them as a value buy. The firm’s long term prospects as a major player in the smart phone market do not appear strong on the surface, or for that matter at the core.
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An analyst at Avian Securities, Mark Thompson, described the firm’s strategic outlook in a few simple words, “sell, break up the company, or die”. The most recent report on the company suggests the probability of the two former options occurring successfully, is lower than had been previously thought.
The problems with selling or breaking up the company, according to the report, fall into two major categories. The first of these are questions surrounding the value of the company, or part of it, to potential buyers. The second lies in the complexity and cost, of managing a break up of the firm or a sale.
Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) has several assets to its name. The first and arguably most important of these, is its patent portfolio. The companies intellectual property looks like a reasonable investment for a firm looking to get into, or strengthen its position in, the smart phone business.
Those patents may not be that valuable in today’s tech market. The patent wars continue to rage around the world, but it looks like the major players have cemented their positions already. The Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) acquisition of Motorola Mobility Inc. was, almost certainly in order to secure patents. Other players looking to do the same are difficult to find.
The most likely contender is likely to be found among PC manufacturers, who have had little or no place in the mobile devices sector. Several reports have shown that mobile device purchases are biting into PC sales. One name floating around Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) for some months is Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL).
The acquisition of Palm by Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), offers a tale of caution for any firm considering a purchase of RIM. Hewlett-Packard’s disastrous attempt to enter the tablet market on the back of that purchase almost led to it leaving the hardware business completely.
If its wireless and mobile patents are of little use, what of the underlying technology that made Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) a major smart phone player in the first place? The firm’s propriety Blackberry Management System, running through its Network Operations Center, has been a gold standard in mobile security for years.
That platform may not be as appealing to other firms, as might have been previously thought. This report asserts that the system would be extremely complicated to integrate into the operating systems of competing manufacturers. The cost of integration, according to the report, would outweigh the tangible benefits.
Research In Motion’s user base, estimated at 80 million worldwide, is increasingly disengaged, and in the Western world shrinking quickly. The base it might provide to a potential buyer would be worth much less than the company is currently valued at.
On top of the low value the report attributes to Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) assets, the costs of a break up might be unsustainable, and ultimately, not give a reasonable return to investors.
The company’s board would find it difficult to manage a breakup under current pressures. Such a break up is almost certain, should the company enter bankruptcy, but that is not a viable option for potential investors.
Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) might still survive, and thrive, in the smart phone market. BB10, the firm’s upcoming operating system, is burdened with saving the company. Unlikely as that seems right now, it appears to be the only option open to the Canadian firm.