Is Research In Motion the walking dead?
Management reportedly cancels a meeting wtih an activist investor in a stunning move that smacks of arrogance.
Research In Motion (RIMM) has been called the headless horseman before.
Now it appears that management has gone to a new level of cluelessness, reportedly canceling a meeting between an activist investor and two board members.
Company lawyers nixed the meeting that Jaguar Financial had scheduled with two of RIM's independent directors, according to reports. Jaguar was supposedly going to talk about corporate governance. It appears to be a safe bet that RIM's co-chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, had something to do with the cancellation.
Why company management would cancel a meeting with an activist investor is beyond me. The company's stock has languished for years as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) have crushed BlackBerry's market share.
Take a look at Apple's share price since it introduced the iPhone in 2007. RIM's share performance is anything but pretty compared with Apple's. Apple has returned 252% since June 1, 2007, while RIM is down more than 50%.
RIM still has its share of defenders, as the following video shows.
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For Research In Motion to be so cocky and arrogant to just dismiss anything an activist investor has to say reeks of uselessness at the top. A publicly traded company's ultimate responsibility is to enhance shareholder value. It is clear RIM has done nothing of the sort.
The company announced a new mobile operating system called BBX Tuesday, which is based on the existing QNX platform it purchased in an acquisition. There is hope that BBX will trigger a resumption of growth that RIM was accustomed to, or at least something close to it. That doesn't erase that the tremendous loss of shareholder value over the years, however.
There are plenty of value reasons Research In Motion would be a buy, including increased hopes for BBX, extremely low valuations, and the potential for activists to eventually get fed up and do something.
As I wrote when RIM reported earnings, most of this does not matter. With Balsillie and Lazaridis making decisions like this, the company is headless and the top and bottom lines are shrinking fast. With a market cap under $12 billion, RIM has lost more than 25% since the disastrous earnings report was released last month.
It does appear that Balsillie and Lazaridis are blind at the top, and nothing, not even an activist investor, can save the Ontario-based company.
This is not just a headless horseman. This is a company that appears dead without knowing it.
Bullish. Traders who believe that Research in Motion will finally get its act together might want to consider the following trades:
- If QNX is as successful as many believe, RIM could be a screaming buy, trading at less than 5 times earnings.
- There is also the chance that RIM management does not take Jaguar Financial seriously, and that a larger activist investor, like Carl Icahn, could make a difference.
Bearish. Traders who believe that RIM management is pig-headed and will not listen to change may consider alternate positions:
- This is bearish for company management, which has already tarnished their reputation. Additional actions like this would only lead to more tarnishing.
- Marvell Technology (MRVL) derives almost a quarter of its revenues from RIM, according to Tech Insidr. However, according to a Marvell representative, RIM represents less than 10% of its net revenues. If RIM goes down, Marvell may feel the effects.
Neither Benzinga nor its staff offer investment advice nor do they recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security.
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