BlackBerry shares rocket on bullish analyst note

John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

Justin Solomon | CNBC
John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

Shares of BlackBerry spiked 10 percent on Thursday after a note from Citron Research setting a 24-month price target of $20 per share.

Citron sees new life in the company as an internet-of-things provider and a key player in the autonomous car market.

The firm is bullish on BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, which it says is a “potential game changer in autonomous driving.” It names QNX’s customers, which include Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Chervolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and more. Citron compared BlackBerry to Nvidia noting that the two companies are participating in markets with plenty of growth potential.

Citron addressed the bear case, in which BlackBerry’s QNX technology may be quickly outclassed by tech titans such as Apple and Google, which are also investing in autonomous car technology. “Citron believes if anything this validates BlackBerry’s position and makes it ripe as an acquisition target for countless suitors,” the company said. “Qualcomm recently purchased NXP for its exposure in Automotive, Internet of Things, security and Networking.”

Citron said it’s also bullish on BlackBerry because of its potential to have a big role in the internet of things, particularly as a company known for its security. IoT devices have a long history of being insecure, and BlackBerry is working to change that.

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