BlackBerry’s Patents Could Fetch a Tidy Sum, but Smartphone Division May be Worthless

Waterloo’s BlackBerry is for sale. But how much is it worth?

The Canadian company’s treasure trove of patents and advanced software could fetch a tidy sum—up to $5 billion or more, some analysts estimate—but its formerly glorious smartphone division is being considered worthless by many.

Raymond James Ltd. stated recently that BlackBerrys services business and hardware unit would have zero value in an acquisition, given the fact that substantial phone losses render fee-based revenue earned from subscribers virtually negligible.

BMO says that BlackBerry’s patent portfolio alone is worth more than $1 billion, however. Currently trading for about $10 per share, the company’s market cap is just over $5 billion. BlackBerry has roughly $3 billion in cash and short-term investments.

It was only in 2011 that the smartphone pioneer was generating net income of more than $3 billion. Now BlackBerry struggles to remain profitable on a quarterly basis.

“We struggle to assign any value to the hardware business given the belief the most logical acquirer of BlackBerry would likely attempt to transition BlackBerry’s subscriber base to its own competing smartphone products or ecosystem,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley said earlier this month.