Jefferies & Co. expects four potential negative events for Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) shareholders in the next 6 to 12 months. The brokerage reiterated its underperform rating on shares of the BlackBerry maker with a price target of $35.
We see four potential negative events for Research In Motion (RIM) shareholders in the next 6 to 12 months: product delays, earnings guidance reset, aging product portfolio (implications of Marvell's results), and waning carrier support, said Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies.
In the product delays, Misek believes the majority of OS 7 devices have been delayed from August to October as integration, polishing, and carrier certification are taking longer than expected (e.g., in a recent interview FT's CEO noted regular bugs with RIM devices and quality problems with RIM's next-gen devices).
Misek believes this is causing delays in other product launches, notably the 3G/4G Playbook and QNX based handsets, which are now more likely in the second half of calendar 2012 versus guidance of early calendar 2012.
In the earnings guidance reset, Misek believes management will either have to accept lower margins or lower unit sales as carriers become worried about inventory levels for an aging portfolio of products.
In the aging product portfolio event, Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) reported fiscal first quarter revenue of $802 million versus Street estimate of $826 million as Mobile & Wireless revenues declined 30 percent quarter-over-quarter versus down 20 percent guidance. Marvell's management cited “continued softness at one of our largest customers as the cause.
Misek believes RIM is 80 percent of Marvell's wireless revs and was the reason for the weakness. Mobile & Wireless fiscal second quarter revenue guided up 20 percent quarter-over-quarter mainly due to TD-SCDMA doubling and WiFi strength. All of management's RIM comments were focused on a hopeful ramp in second half of calendar 2011 and not on fiscal second quarter.
Misek does not believe RIM is contributing much, if at all, to the improved outlook and the weak fiscal first quarter results reflect RIM's share losses and aging products.
In the waning carrier support event, RIM is being forced to increase, based on Misek's checks, handset bounties and co-marketing payments in order to retain carriers and slots. He believes carriers want to support three main ecosystems: iOS, Android, and one TBD. Unfortunately for RIM, Windows is now being considered, but Windows 8 may be a second half of calendar 2012 or even 2013 event.
Research In Motion stock closed Thursday's regular trading up 1 percent at $43.57 on the NASDAQ Stock Market, while in the after-hours the stock moved down 0.28 percent to $43.45.