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Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap

Value-focused investors are always on the hunt for stocks that are priced below their intrinsic value. One such stock that merits attention is BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB). The stock, which is currently priced at 4.49, recorded a loss of 4.71% in a day and a 3-month decrease of 18.87%. The stock's fair valuation is $7.07, as indicated by its GF Value.

Understanding GF Value

The GF Value represents the current intrinsic value of a stock derived from our exclusive method. The GF Value Line on our summary page gives an overview of the fair value that the stock should be traded at. It is calculated based on three factors: historical multiples (PE Ratio, PS Ratio, PB Ratio and Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow) that the stock has traded at, GuruFocus adjustment factor based on the company's past returns and growth, and future estimates of the business performance.

Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap
Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap

However, investors need to consider a more in-depth analysis before making an investment decision. Despite its seemingly attractive valuation, certain risk factors associated with BlackBerry should not be ignored. These risks are primarily reflected through its low Altman Z-score of -0.31, and the company's revenues and earnings have been on a downward trend over the past five years, which raises a crucial question: Is BlackBerry a hidden gem or a value trap?

Understanding Altman Z-Score

Before delving into the details, let's understand what the Altman Z-score entails. Invented by New York University Professor Edward I. Altman in 1968, the Z-Score is a financial model that predicts the probability of a company entering bankruptcy within a two-year time frame. The Altman Z-Score combines five different financial ratios, each weighted to create a final score. A score below 1.8 suggests a high likelihood of financial distress, while a score above 3 indicates a low risk.

Company Snapshot

BlackBerry, once known for being the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, is now exclusively a software provider with a stated goal of end-to-end secure communication for enterprises. The firm provides endpoint management and protection to enterprises, specializing in regulated industries like government, as well as embedded software to the automotive, medical, and industrial markets. Despite the company's promising GF Value, the low Altman Z-score and declining revenues and earnings suggest that BlackBerry may be a potential value trap.

Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap
Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap

BlackBerry's Low Altman Z-Score: A Breakdown of Key Drivers

A dissection of BlackBerry's Altman Z-score reveals BlackBerry's financial health may be weak, suggesting possible financial distress.

The Retained Earnings to Total Assets ratio provides insights into a company's capability to reinvest its profits or manage debt. Evaluating BlackBerry's historical data, 2021: -0.57; 2022: -0.64; 2023: -1.29, we observe a declining trend in this ratio. This downward movement indicates BlackBerry's diminishing ability to reinvest in its business or effectively manage its debt, which exerts a negative impact on its Z-Score.

The Bearish Signs: Declining Revenues and Earnings

One of the telltale indicators of a company's potential trouble is a sustained decline in revenues. In the case of BlackBerry, both the revenue per share (evident from the last five years' TTM data: 2019: 1.59; 2020: 1.72; 2021: 1.37; 2022: 1.11; 2023: 1.37; ) and the 5-year revenue growth rate (-8.7%) have been on a consistent downward trajectory. This pattern may point to underlying challenges such as diminishing demand for BlackBerry's products, or escalating competition in its market sector. Either scenario can pose serious risks to the company's future performance, warranting a thorough analysis by investors.

Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap
Is BlackBerry (BB) Too Good to Be True? A Comprehensive Analysis of a Potential Value Trap

The Red Flag: Sluggish Earnings Growth

The company's earnings picture does not look much brighter. The 3-year EPS without NRI growth rate (-62.3%) is sluggish, and the future 3 to 5-year EPS growth estimate (0%) does not show a promising uptick. These indicators could suggest the company is struggling to translate sales into profits effectively, a critical element of a successful business model.

Despite its low price-to-fair-value ratio, BlackBerry's falling revenues and earnings cast a long shadow over its investment attractiveness. A low price relative to intrinsic value can indeed suggest an investment opportunity, but only if the company's fundamentals are sound or improving. In BlackBerry's case, the declining revenues, EBITDA, and earnings growth suggest that the company's issues may be more than just cyclical fluctuations. Without a clear turnaround strategy, there's a risk that the company's performance could continue to deteriorate, leading to further price declines. In such a scenario, the low price-to-GF-Value ratio may be more indicative of a value trap than a value opportunity.


Given the evidence, it appears that BlackBerry may indeed be a value trap. Despite its seemingly attractive valuation, the company's declining revenues, earnings, and a low Altman Z-score suggest potential financial distress. Therefore, careful consideration and thorough due diligence are recommended before making an investment decision.

GuruFocus Premium members can find stocks with high Altman Z-Score using the following Screener: Walter Schloss Screen .

Investors can find stocks with good revenue and earnings growth using GuruFocus' Peter Lynch Growth with Low Valuation Screener.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.