Why a $1 billion cash injection may not be enough to save BlackBerry

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At long last, some non-terrible news for BlackBerry investors
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At long last, some non-terrible news for BlackBerry investors

BlackBerry has certainly bought itself some time with the $1 billion cash injection it received from Fairfax Financial and its partners but there’s no guarantee that the company’s future will look any brighter unless major improvements happen very quickly. Barron’s flags a particularly gloomy take on BlackBerry’s future from Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley, who thinks that the company’s sales may have fallen by as much as 50% year over year, mainly due to lackluster demand for BlackBerry 10 devices and a limited market for legacy BlackBerry 7 devices. And barring a miracle, he doesn’t see how the company will return to profitability over the next two years.

“Despite BlackBerry’s significant restructuring to lower operating costs, our forward estimates remain below break-even levels,” he writes in a research note. “With our lower unit sales estimates, we are lowering our F2014 pro forma LPS estimate from $(0.82) to $(1.09) and our F2015 estimate from $(1.24) to $(1.28).”

Canaccord released new research this week showing that BlackBerry’s operating margin for mobile devices stood at a stunning -55% in the third quarter this year, far and away the worst margins posted by a major vendor all year. The company’s bet that it could turn its declining market share around with BlackBerry 10 has not panned out and Walkley thinks the only thing left to do is figure out how the company gets broken up.

“While we maintain our belief BlackBerry will ultimately end up selling the company due to the difficult competitive smartphone market and low probability BlackBerry 10 can return BlackBerry to sustained profitability, we now believe a breakup is more likely than an outright sale and fundamentals will continue to deteriorate over a now longer public sale process under new management,” he writes.

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