BlackBerry shares get a boost after Microsoft makes deal to buy Nokia

TORONTO – Blackberry (TSX:BB) shares were slightly ahead Tuesday as some investors found hope that the Canadian smartphone maker could still be an acquisition target in the wake of the multi-billion dollar Microsoft transaction.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s stock rose 11 cents to close at $10.75 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The shift came after Microsoft Corp. announced plans to buy Nokia Corp.’s handset division for US$7.17 billion.

The deal raised hopes that pieces of BlackBerry’s operations could still be in the sights of another technology company.

However, it also decreases the likelihood that Microsoft would be a player in a bid for the assets, said National Bank analyst Kris Thompson.

“We don’t really think these guys (BlackBerry) are going to be around for much longer, unfortunately,” he said, noting that any asset sales would likely be done at below the company’s overall trading market value.

BlackBerry is in the midst of a review of its “strategic alternatives,” which could result in the sale of its operations or an agreement to take the company private, though so far no potential bidders have publicly emerged.

Thompson believes that consumers have shied away from a company because of its “very uncertain future,” and that BlackBerry executives should push to break up and sell assets that still have a value, such as patents that are owned by the company.

“The longer they wait, the worse the outlook is going to become,” he added.

BlackBerry is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings results on Sept. 27.