Is Alicia Keys the Quiet Catalyst for Upside at BlackBerry (BBRY)?

February 8, 2013 10:14 AM EST Send to a Friend
Here is an obscure way why BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) may see some success in the coming years.

It's creative director.

Last week, BlackBerry announced naming Alicia Keys as its creative director. Having built a strong fan base with hit singles like "Fallin'," No One," and "If I Ain't Got You," Keys seems like smart choice to make BlackBerry more appealing to the masses.

Investors might argue that success is really only measured by returns. Thus, we turn to Intel (Nasdaq: INTC).

Back in January 2011, Intel took the initiative to name Will.I.am as its "Director of Creative Innovation." Having gained notoriety with the Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.am was also involved in several other projects and entertainment segments before garnering the title at Intel. The question becomes, how has Intel done since then.

The release on Will.I.am came out toward the end of January 2011. Intel shares were just below $20 at that time and the stock is now at about $21...a gain of 5 percent in about 24 months. With an annual dividend yield of roughly 4 percent over that span, it could be argued that the addition of Will.I.am brought a 13 percent return to shareholders in two years.

But, is Intel really better off? The company is still struggling in tablets and smartphones, while the PC business is a dying breed. It's also unlikely that Will.I.am is appealing to the enterprise side of the business, though nothing should be written off.

It should be noted that shifting direction at a giant like Intel isn't easy; the latest read has its market cap just north of $100 billion. By comparison, BlackBerry is at $7.5 billion...a smaller mountain to climb.

If Keys can hit the right notes and bring more youth to use BlackBerry devices, shareholders might have yet another reason to smile. The stock is just about flat on the session Friday morning.


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