NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report) is running ads declaring it's not dead yet. That kind of thinking would fit right in with an episode of AMC Networks' (AMCX) "The Walking Dead."
If you're not familiar with the show, it's based on an apocalyptic world full of people-eating zombies that if they bite or scratch you, will cause you to become one more zombie. Many of the episodes feature a well-known character that after receiving a deadly wound declares they are "OK". BlackBerry is also pleading in an open letter it's ok too.
"You can continue to count on BlackBerry."
"We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free.""Best in class productivity tool." BlackBerry fits right into the storyline according to its management. They are mortally wounded, but not dead yet. Characters in the show quickly become weary of others with scratches or wounds, just as BlackBerry investors need to proceed using extreme caution. BlackBerry's mortal wounds didn't come from other Zombies. The wounds are from Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and to a lesser degree, Microsoft (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK). When your company is losing money, having cash in the bank only delays the inevitable. When losses are accelerating, the situation becomes abundantly clear the clock runs out of sand much quicker. Not all is lost for investors though. No, I don't mean that BlackBerry can turn it around against Apple and Android phones, but a buyout is all but certain. The uncertainty is the price, and maybe to a lesser degree, the timing. BlackBerry's CEO Thorsten Heins is highly incentivized to sell the company as soon as possible. One could make the argument that relatively speaking he won't earn more pay by holding on longer or by steering the company back to profitability. Heins' golden parachute is worth about $50 million, or more than four times greater than he may expect in annual compensation as a CEO trying to add shareholder value. Not an unpleasant exit package for someone who earned less than $2 million as the chief operating officer in 2011.
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