BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) director Bert Nordberg wants to see the company broken up, according to an interview he gave with The Wall Street Journal today. The executive is looking for a leaner BlackBerry that can deal with the new smartphone market. He considers BlackBerry’s future as a “niche company” an attractive one.
According to the piece in The Wall Street Journal, Nordberg is part of the board tasked with coming up with strategies that would allow BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) to survive. Nordberg believes that the company can survive in a niche, but that means “subsets” of its business will need to be sold off.
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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has put itself up for sale, but no offers have been made public yet. The Canadian handset maker is a difficult company to value because its smartphone business seems to be failing, and most of its other units are designed to support the smartphone business.
The value that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has added in those difficult-to-price segments is worth a lot to the company. Nordberg believes selling some of them off will make the company easier to manage, and worth more to investors. BlackBerry has already started re-organizing its business in order to make BlackBerry Messenger a standalone business.
More valuable after split?
Nordberg is looking at the book value of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and comparing it to the value the market has put on the company, and he’s noticed a problem. Nordberg’s view is that the company should shed some of that value, in order to make the company into a leaner player.
“I think BlackBerry is able to survive as a niche company. But being a niche company means deciding to be a niche company. Historically, BlackBerry has had larger ambitions. But battling giants like Apple, Google and Samsung is tough.”
If Nordberg is right, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) may have a future as a purely enterprise business. “BlackBerry is strong on the enterprise business, its products are NSA-proof in the sense that you can’t intercept their communication, its handsets’ keyboards have many fans around the globe, and the company has a leading worldwide data network.”
These are interesting times for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB). The company has a huge amount of options, despite its poor position. Nordberg believes the firm can capitalize, though investors don’t seem so sure.