The great debate about how much BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is really worth continues. Some analysts believe the buyout offer from the consortium led by Fairfax Financial is low but probably the best the struggling company will be able to do. At least one analyst has even upgraded BlackBerry based on the proposal from Fairfax, while others don’t think the deal has a prayer of actually going through.
So what’s the deal with BlackBerry? The company’s shares continued their downward trend on Wednesday, just two days after the offer from Fairfax was announced. They closed the trading day on Tuesday at their lowest closing level in months. Clearly no one on Wall Street knows what to expect when it comes to this company.
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The multiple offered to BlackBerry is a record low
Interestingly enough, the current deal offered to BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is the lowest sales multiple of any takeover worth more than $1 billion within the technology or telecommunications industry in North America. That’s according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The transaction puts the company at an 83 percent discount to the $11.3 billion in revenue it generated over the last 12 months.
It gives BlackBerry a median book value multiple of .2, while other deals in these industries have been done with a multiple of 5.3.
National Bank upgrades BlackBerry
In their latest research note, National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson and associates Auritro Kundu and Nikhil Thadani explained why they actually upgraded BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) and raised their price target for the stock. They said the company’s shareholders ought to be extremely happy with the offer from Fairfax and that they should “take the money and run” because otherwise the company is heading toward extinction.
Thompson and team upgraded the company to Sector Perform from Underperform and raised their price target to $9 a share from $5 per share. They believe Fairfax and the rest of the consortium have “the political capital” needed to pull the transaction off even though BlackBerry remains in a “state of calamity.” They believe this deal from Fairfax is the best BlackBerry will be able to do because they don’t think a competitive bidder will emerge.
GMP Securities thinks BlackBerry is worth more
In their research note, GMP Securities analyst Deepak Kaushal and associate Angelica Uruena think the offer from Fairfax undervalues the company, but like Thompson, they also think this offer is the best BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) will be able to do.
They have a Hold rating and a $9 per share price target on the company based on the offer from Fairfax. Like other analysts, they note that the offer is no guarantee of a final deal, so they aren’t convinced that it will actually happen since the deal is subject to due diligence from the buyout group and the ability of the group being able to raise the cash necessary to complete it.
The offer to BlackBerry is no surprise
Paradigm Capital analyst Gabriel Leung notes that it really isn’t a big surprise that Fairfax, headed up by Prem Watsa, is spearheading the consortium which made the buyout offer for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB). Watsa resigned from the company’s board as soon as it announced that it was looking for strategic alternatives, and Watsa’s firm is BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder.
Leung believes “the more interesting angle” is whether the offer from Fairfax spurs a competing bid. Unlike other analysts, he thinks there’s a decent chance that a competing bid will appear. He still believes other companies might be interested in BlackBerry, like perhaps Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) or HTC Corp (TPE:2498), if they wanted their own operating system, or a tech company like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) or Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), which might want to get its hands on BlackBerry’s enterprise subscribers.
He continues to rate BlackBerry as a Hold because he thinks it’s premature to sell the stock since there could be other bidders, and even if there isn’t, he thinks the deal with Fairfax has a strong probability of actually happening.