Blackberry to Split in Two: Why We Like the Idea

We like the separation of the IoT and cybersecurity businesses and so should investors.

William Kerwin 5 October, 2023 | 9:34AM
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No-moat BlackBerry announced its intention to separate into two distinct businesses on Oct. 4, and we maintain our $4.90 fair value estimate for the combined firm. We are pleased with the announcement, which would bifurcate the Internet of Things and cybersecurity businesses. We believe BlackBerry’s IoT business is the highest-value portion of the firm, and investors will find it an attractive investment as a stand-alone software stock. Meanwhile, the enterprise cybersecurity business has been struggling for some time, in part due to problems with its go-to-market approach, in our view. Still, we think both businesses can find better execution and valuation as separate entities. We see shares as fairly valued, even after trading slightly higher afterhours following the announcement.

BlackBerry intends to IPO its IoT business—of which the majority is the QNX software for autonomous vehicles and other devices. We view QNX as best-of-breed base-level and hypervisor software for cars and other connected machines, and model midteens sales growth for the IoT business over the next 10 years. We expect the IoT business to be an attractive stand-alone investment after an IPO, especially with strong automaker relationships and a marquee agreement with Amazon for its IVY product. We think the larger and relatively worse-performing cybersecurity segment has weighed on BlackBerry’s overall valuation against a smaller but competitively stronger IoT segment.

Additionally, we think a stand-alone cybersecurity business may be an attractive buyout candidate for a larger cybersecurity rival. In our view, BlackBerry’s actual technology is better than its perception in the enterprise marketplace, and it has struggled with its go-to-market approach to mend that disconnect. BlackBerry’s security business also boasts strong government customer relationships which could add to its attractiveness in a buyout.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
BlackBerry Ltd4.21 CAD-3.44Rating

About Author

William Kerwin  

is an equity analyst on the technology team for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar Inc. He covers the IT supply chain, hardware, and semiconductor stocks.

Before joining the firm full-time in 2019, Kerwin was an intern on Morningstar's basic materials team.

Kerwin holds a Bachelor of Science in economics with a math emphasis and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

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