So BlackBerry may have to take a big writedown. Bad news, to be sure, but for those still hoping for a sale of the company there is no reason to believe any writedown on unsold phones will affect a potential takeover.
Bloomberg reports that inventory is piling up, approaching $1-billion (U.S.). That raises the chance that the company will have to acknowledge that all those unsold Z10s and now Q10s are probably not worth what the company has been carrying them at.
But then the story goes on to quote an analyst who suggests that Blackberry chief executive officer Thorsten Heins will have to consider "how a writedown would be perceived by possible buyers of the company." Really?
If there's a possible buyer out there who hasn't figured out that BlackBerry's phones aren't selling and those warehouses full of handsets probably shouldn't be carried at premium values, then I'd love to meet that possible buyer. There are plenty of things I could sell him or her.
Pretty high on the list of things to do in due diligence for anyone kicking the tires at BlackBerry would be to look into the inventory situation, and whether the company is properly valuing it. If the company hasn't taken a writedown that it should have done, it's not going to fool a sophisticated suitor.
What's more, the handset part of the business rarely comes up in discussions of what's really valuable. Writing down something worth not very much to even less is not all that important.
The accounting is only a reflection of the real issue, which no numbers jiggery-pokery can hide.
(Boyd Erman is a Globe and Mail Reporter & Streetwise Columnist.)
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