BlackBerry hits bump in turnaround road, shares plunge

Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:33pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry's total market value plunged by more than one-fourth on Friday after the smartphone maker reported dismal quarterly results, prompting ever-deeper skepticism about a long-promised turnaround.

BlackBerry, which has struggled to claw back market share from the likes of Apple Inc's iPhone, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy phones and other devices powered by Google Inc's Android operating system, reported a loss in the fiscal first quarter ended June 1, and sales of its make-or-break new line of devices were softer than expected.

The company also said it will not make an operating profit in the current quarter.

Shares of BlackBerry, which changed its name from Research in Motion, closed 27.8 percent lower at $10.46 on the Nasdaq on Friday. The stock touched levels last seen in November 2012, before the early 2013 launch of the new range of smartphones.

Some analysts believe that potential buyers may take a look at BlackBerry, given assets that include a wealth of valuable patents, as well as hardware and service businesses.

"If you look at the asset base that they have at their disposal, it's formidable," said John Jackson, research vice president for IDC, in response to a question on Reuters Television. "So there are any number of companies that might have an interest in RIM's assets if indeed it's in play."

Macquarie analyst Kevin Smithen cut his rating on BlackBerry to "underperform" from "neutral" and said he sees a breakup or sale of the company as a likely end game.

BlackBerry invented the concept of on-the-go email more than a decade ago with clunky little devices with a mini keyboard. The gadgets, which offered powerful security features, allowed the company to corner the lucrative market serving business and legal professionals as well as government workers.   Continued...

 
A BlackBerry salesperson displays a BlackBerry Z10 during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone in Mumbai February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash