Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) started the week strong on news that the company’s Z10 will finally be released on March 22 and on a rumor that China’s Lenovo Group might consider buying the beleaguered smartphone maker. While the stock has been on a steady trajectory higher over the past several months, having already risen 23.5% thus far this year, the stock remains a speculative rebound play. The very survival of the company is probably directly tied to the sales results that can be achieved over the next few months or quarters, regardless of whether a buyer for the company is found. While the Lenovo purchase prospect is in its infancy, leaving a meaningful opinion elusive, it does offer context for BlackBerry’s future. The stock remains interesting at current levels but shouldn’t be bought as a takeover bet alone.
The U.S. release
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will be the first wireless carrier to offer the new BlackBerry Z10 to U.S. consumers when it launches the new product at the end of this week. Even though the Z10 has been in non-U.S. stores for quite some time, the domestic launch was delayed by longer test times required by specific carriers. AT&T has been taking pre-orders for the new device, which should alone be seen as a positive, even if it’s more about show. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was a critical partner for the release of some of the current smartphone leaders, making it a great place for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) to start.
The smartphone, which has already launched in more than 20 other countries, will sell for $199.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T. Other top wireless providers have yet to say when they will start selling the device, but it may be somewhat driven by early indications of sales strength. Even the company itself acknowledges that the U.S. launch is critical.
While the AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) news was a significant positive for shares, the bigger catalyst was various remarks made by Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing to a French publication: “As for BlackBerry, the file could eventually make sense, but I must first analyze the market and understand the exact weight of this company.” A Canadian spokesman for Lenovo quickly placed the comments in context , making clear that a takeover was not a part of the computer-maker’s current strategy. Still, the mere possibility helped the stock close up about 12% during Monday’s session.