BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), despite its fading relevancy in the smartphone marketplace, has managed to keep itself in the business and financial headlines. Are we suggesting that the talk of the company putting itself up for sale or possibly going private might only be a stunt? We’re not in any position to speculate anything like that. But certainly, just like when Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) talk about sales and privatization, the stocks go up and there is new interest in those companies.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has been on the hot seat lately, especially as the company rolled out the BlackBerry 10 operating system and a new line of handsets that have generally fallen flat, especially not revitalizing the estimated 60-70 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide. Sales numbers have been modest, but not enough to keep BlackBerry as the No. 3 OS option in the smartphone market, as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone has overtaken BlackBerry and now owns half of the market that is not owned by Android or iOS.
This tends to lead us to a couple of things – we are tempted to do a little post-mortem on BlackBerry, and look ahead to what might be coming for the company in the future in terms of its valuation for potential buyers.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Future: Its Patents Might be Worth How Much?
Andre Yoskowitz of Afterdawn wrote recently on the possible valuation of the BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) company for those potential buyers – which have been conjectured to be Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Lenovo or even fund manager Prem Watsa, who currently has a 10-percent stake in the company. Before you and your friends get together to write a check for the company, though, consider this analysis of the company’s patent portfolio.
Yoskowitz talked with Chris Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group, who basically estimated that the BlackBerry has a patent portfolio of about 9,000 patents, which could be valued at more than half of the total current market cap for the company. While BlackBerry as a company is valued on the markets at about $5.7 billion, Marlett estimated that the patent portfolio could be worth as much as $3 billion. But he hedged by saying, “If (there’s) a bidding war, I think the number can go as high as $4 billion to $5 billion. This is probably the last big and current portfolio available.”
BlackBerry Rewind: Should It Have Gone Android Instead?
As we all seem to look ahead to what happen with BlackBerry in this new phase of the company, there are those who seem to look at what might have been had BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) gone in a different direction. Mary Branscombe of ZDNet looked into the question about whether BlackBerry should have latched on to the Android operating system instead of creating its own OS.
Simply, Branscombe looked at the numbers of Android sales among the various companies that are connected to the Android OS by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). What she found, mentioned at the end of the piece, was that Samsung collected nearly 95 percent of all Android-affiliated profits in the smartphone market – the rest of the Android partners – companies like LG, Lenovo, Sony, ZTE, HTC and Motorola, among others – collected just more than 5 percent of the profits.
So although BlackBerry has had been highly profitable as a company wth its current OS, Branscombe brought up the point that the profit number would be so insignificant as to not be worth the trouble for BlackBerry. So it should not have been with Android in the beinning, and switching would not be much of an option for the company.
Besides Watsa, other fund managers who have had confidence in BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) include John Thaler, Andreas Halvorson and Philippe Laffont. Are you with them? Do you think BlackBerry will survive as either a private company or being absorbed by another company? Before leaving us your comments, check out the video below that looks at BlackBerry selling itself.
Recommended Reading: This Could Kill BlackBerry