Why Investors Might Want To Bet On BlackBerry’s Turnaround Prospects


BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) seems to have hit the overdrive button with regard to its turnaround efforts. The battered smartphone maker wants to reverse its tumultuous run and get back in Wall Street’s good graces. BlackBerry announced Tuesday that it would sell its commercial real estate holdings in Canada. In total, the company intends to sell more than three million square feet.

BlackBerry will divest its real estate holdings through a combination of vacant sales and sale-lease back arrangements. Although BlackBerry has not commented on the exact value of this particular undertaking, it previously raked in $41 million from a separate sale of five buildings and land to the University of Waterloo in December.

Essentially, divesting real estate assets frees up BlackBerry’s cash, presenting much-needed flexibility at a time when the company needs to turn ship. “This initiative will further enhance BlackBerry’s financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve,” said CEO and executive chairman John Chen.

In addition to freeing up its assets, BlackBerry also inked a five-year partnership deal with a Taiwanese company in December. Under the agreement, BlackBerry will offload most of its manufacturing operations to the Taiwanese company, preserving its cash flows.

Cost Cutting Will Ease Transition

In December, BlackBerry announced that it would relocate its efforts away from the high-end smartphone market to the lower end of the market. CEO Chen also suggested that the company would increase its exposure to the enterprise market.

By focusing on low-end phones, BlackBerry will minimize production costs. This approach, coupled with continued cost cutting efforts, will prevent cash flow shocks, allowing BlackBerry to provide a continual stream of cash for its promising enterprise business.

Enterprise Business Receives Boost

The US Department of Defense announced last week that it would bring in thousands of mobile devices for its employees over the next year, majority of them being smartphones from BlackBerry. In comparison to 1,800 devices from other manufacturers, BlackBerry will supply 80,000 devices.

In a memo published in December, BlackBerry CEO Chen pointed out that many regulated industries with stringent security needs solely depend on BlackBerry to secure their mobile infrastructure. He iterated that BlackBerry was the only provider to obtain “Authority to operate” on US Department of Defense networks. This essentially means that the DoD is only allowed to use BlackBerry. Admittedly, a compelling section of IT mangers believe that BlackBerry is still the way to go in terms of network security.

BlackBerry’s comeback in the enterprise market is staged against the backdrop of the ‘Snowden effect’; which essentially means former security barriers are being torn down and journalists, along with other groups, are becoming increasingly courageous in their attempts to pry into classified databases. For this reason, network security has taken top priority among enterprise clients. BlackBerry is in a unique position to leverage its reputation for providing reliable network security to ink more lucrative enterprise contracts going forward.

It might be time for short-sellers to retreat; BlackBerry’s stock could be set for an iconic rebound.

Disclosure: Author represents that he has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article at the time this article was submitted