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BlackBerry maker continues torrid rally in advance of BB10 launch


Robert Galbraith/REUTERS Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins displays features of the Blackberry 10 during his keynote address during the Blackberry Jam Americas in San Jose, California in this file image from September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

Shares in Research In Motion Ltd. climbed to a 13-month high yesterday. The surge came amidst increasingly bullish sentiment over RIM’s soon-to-launch BB10 operating system and phones, which spurred hopes for a new cross-licensing revenue stream for the BlackBerry maker.

In an interview with a German newspaper Die Welt, CEO Thorsten Heins reiterated that the company would consider licensing its operating system to other manufacturers, and might even farm out its hardware-making division.

German-born Heins was quoted as saying that RIM continues to explore all options, but said the company’s healthy balance sheet gives it the luxury of some time.

His comments helped ignite a rally in RIM shares to a 13-month high. The stock surged by as much 14 per cent Monday before closing in Toronto on heavy volume at $ 17.41, a gain of $ 1.70, or nearly 11 per cent. RIM did not trade on the Nasdaq due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The stock fell to about $ 6.18 in late September, following delays in product releases and a sharp sales drop in the U.S. and other developed markets.

The shares have rebounded recently on positive BB10 analyst reports, but remain a long way from their $ 148 (U.S.) peak in June 2008, when BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone in North America.

Shares in Waterloo-based RIM also gained Friday after Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek upgraded his recommendation on the stock to buy and raised his price target to $ 19.50 from $ 13.

He cited improving odds that BB10 will recapture North American market share and said the new software will generate revenue by managing iPhones and Android devices on corporate and government networks.

In a note to investors, Byron Capital analyst Tom Astle added that BlackBerry 10 has a good chance of success thanks to an innovative and well-reviewed user interface and strong support from network carriers including the top four in the U.S.

H e also cited indications that at least 1,600 business customers in North America have already registered to upgrade to BB10.

RIM initiated a review of its operations amid losses last year to consider assets sales and licensing partnerships, but analysts say improving odds for a successful BB10 launch make a software licensing deal a more realistic possibility

thestar.com – Business

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