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The Class Action Suit Against BlackBerry That Seems More Than Obvious

Jon C. Ogg

Class action lawsuits are now an integral part of the game on Wall Street. With all the troubles that BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) has seen and with all the company's missteps, it was only a matter of time before a new round of law firm investigations or class action suits would be filed. On Tuesday night, the law firm of Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross announced that it has filed a class action lawsuit against BlackBerry and certain officers of the company.

Again, the only thing that should have been in doubt was when a class action suit would get filed and which law firm would file it. This new class action is on behalf of shareholders who purchased (or otherwise acquired) securities of BlackBerry between the dates of September 27, 2012, and September 20, 2013. The shareholders have until December 3, 2013, to ask the court to appoint them as lead plaintiff for the class.

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This suit alleges some of the usual verbiage in such suits: materially false and misleading statements, and more. It also alleges that BlackBerry was not on the road to recovery and that it was not re-emerging as a lead player in the wireless communications industry with the launch of BlackBerry 10. It stated:

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On September 20, 2013, BlackBerry announced the true state of the Company, which incurred massive charges due to unsold BlackBerry 10 devices and was forced to lay-off approximately 40% of its workforce. In relevant part, the release explained that the Company expects to report a primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments in the second quarter of approximately $930 million to $960 million, which is primarily attributable to BlackBerry Z10 devices.

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The last point was that after the disclosures were made, BlackBerry shares fell from $10.52 per share to $8.73 per share on September 20, 2013, after experiencing an intra-day low of $8.19, and that BlackBerry's stock continued to slide on heavy trading volume over the next few days to close at $8.01 on September 25, 2013.

The suit did not bother to mention that BlackBerry shares put in a recent low of $7.51 before recovering marginally to $7.98. This suit should have been expected, with the only wild cards being which law firm would file and when the filing would come.

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We recently warned that BlackBerry was given a fair value in a sum of the parts analysis of only $7, rather than the $9 preliminary level indicated by Fairfax Financial. One more recent research report from Bernstein even downgraded the stock to Underperform and its new valuation is down at $4.50 because of the severity of the cash burn rate and future liquidity issue.

We have said this before and we will say it again: BlackBerry is the new Palm.

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