BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) shares advanced after the struggling smartphone maker announced a management-services partnership with rival Samsung Electronics Co., the first time the companies have teamed up for a major product.
The stock rose as much as 6.9 percent to $12.05, the highest intraday price since August 2013, after the plan was announced. Samsung’s Knox system, which offers a suite of secure work applications, will run on BlackBerry’s new server, known as BES12, the companies said in a statement today.
BlackBerry is holding an event today in San Francisco to unveil the server, which helps businesses manage devices and communicate securely. The partnership, which competes against an alliance of International Business Machines Corp. and Apple Inc., allies BlackBerry with one of its biggest rivals in the growing mobile device management market. Apple and IBM announced an agreement in July to work together on business services, sending BlackBerry’s stock down 12 percent in one day.
“People probably didn’t expect to see these two companies on the same stage, at least not willingly,” John Sims, head of BlackBerry’s enterprise services business, said at the event. “We need to be able to provide a breadth of choices and do that with companies of the highest level.”
Since taking over the Waterloo, Ontario-based company a year ago, Chief Executive Officer John Chen has focused BlackBerry on business users and outsourced some device manufacturing. Partnerships seem to be the next step in his plan to return the company to profitability by 2016.
Earlier this week Chen said he had met with the heads of Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd. and was interested in partnerships to expand in China.
Investors have supported Chen’s turnaround plan, pushing the stock up 51 percent this year through yesterday and putting it on track to beat the Nasdaq Composite Index for the first time since 2009. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Planincreased its holding in the company to 1.6 percent as of Sept. 30, according to a Nov. 7 regulatory filing.