This post was written by Randy Havre.
In April we wrote “Will the Blackberry Survive?” and that question has now come to the front again with Research In Motion’s (RIMM, NASDAQ, 52 week range 10.01 42.50) announcement that it has hired JP Morgan and RBC to evaluate its current situation and recommend a path forward. CEO Thorsten Heinz has been quoted saying Research in Motion will “evaluate the relative merits and feasibility of various financial strategies,” including opportunities to leverage the Blackberry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic alternatives. Three possible outcomes include an outright sale (Facebook?), breaking up the business or restructuring into a smaller, more focused business.
The announcement also came with a warning that the first quarter will show a loss (Wall Street was looking for a profit, albeit small), the first quarterly loss in many years. Heinz additionally warned that there would be “several quarters” of tough results. All of this caused the NASDAQ to halt trading on Tuesday as investors/traders evaluated the situation.
When the shares began trading again, its price slid from $11.40 per share to a low of $10.01 on Wednesday, a price not seen since 2004.
What we find interesting is that in our April blog post, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky said RIMM “may have lost too much momentum to recover” and “we are concerned RIMM continues to misread the market.”
Not all are negative on RIMM shares at this level. After the news, Alex Gauna at JMP Securities upgraded RIMM to Market Perform from Underperform, stating, “Although we continue to see the odds of a business turnaround as stacked firmly against the company. We note there are still 78 million Blackberry subscribers and the company is working diligently to shake up the organization and pare expenses while still cash flow positive.”
Others are not willing to call the bottom. MKM Partners has a Neutral rating with a price target of $12, down from $15; Raymond James has Market perform and also lowered its target from $15 to $12; Credit Suisse is Neutral with a lower target of $11; and FBR Capital has an even lower target of $9.50.
At this point investors should sit back, watch and leave it for the speculators.