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Sep 07, 2011

RIM stalked by activist investor Jaguar

BlackBerry maker targeted by small investment firm calling for sale of company or spin-off of patent portfolio.

Research In Motion (RIM), the embattled mobile phone company that has seen market share slip away to Apple and Google, has been attacked by activist investor Jaguar Financial.

The Canadian investment firm, which has a modest $12 million in net assets under management, has called on RIM to explore all options available to it and encouraged other investors unhappy with the company’s performance to join forces.

The options RIM should consider include a sale of the company or cashing in on its portfolio of patents, says Jaguar.

RIM has declined to comment on the matter.

The value of patent portfolios was highlighted last month when Google shelled out $12.5 billion for Motorola’s mobile unit, which owns thousands of mobile-related patents.

‘The status quo is not acceptable; the company cannot sit still,’ comments Vic Alboini, chairman and CEO of Jaguar, in a statement.

‘It is time for transformational change. The directors need to seize the reins to maximize shareholder value before more market value is lost. ’

In a statement posted on its website, Jaguar attacks RIM’s poor share price performance, lack of innovation and resulting loss of market share, and corporate governance structure.

 Jaguar has previously launched campaigns against companies including HudBay Minerals, Kinbauri Gold and Virtek Vision International.

RIM’s unusual corporate structure features James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis both holding the positions of joint CEO and joint chairman.

 The company was targeted by another activist investor earlier this year, when Northwest and Ethical Investments (NEI) called for a vote on separating the roles of chairman and CEO.

In that instance, RIM convinced NEI to drop the proposal by agreeing to set up a committee to look into the company’s governance structure, even though NEI’s proposal was supported by proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis.

Tim Human

Tim Human is an international correspondent for IR magazine based in the UK Tim has been editor of IR Magazine, the global publication for investor relations professionals, since January 2013. Prior to becoming editor, he held various roles at IR...