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Investor fund urges RIM to sell itself off or sell patents

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011

Jaguar wants RIM to sell itself or patented tech

Jaguar Financial stirred attention Tuesday with a call to RIM demanding dramatic action. It wanted the BlackBerry maker to form a task group from four to five of its seven independent directors to investigate the possibility of selling the company off to someone else or else selling its patents. RIM wasn't generating enough value for shareholders with its currently dwindling market share, the company's CEO Vic Alboini said.

"The status quo is not acceptable, the company cannot sit still," he said. "It is time for transformational change."

As one of RIM's smaller investors, Jaguar wouldn't necessarily pose a threat by itself if it were to withdraw its stake. The remarks could, however, garner support if other investment groups share the sentiment.

The smartphone developer has spent a significant piece of the past year fending off mounting criticism that its executives, most of all its unusual dual CEOs, were conceding the market to Apple and Google. At one point, RIM brokered a deal to have an investor group drop a motion that might have forced a split between the board chairman and CEO roles that both Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have. Arguments in favor of change have usually revolved around the two leaders having too much control and making it difficult to institute any real change even when the company struggles.

Jaguar may not have much influence simply through timing. RIM just recently undertook the most aggressive reinvention of its phone line to date, introducing and in many cases shipping four new BlackBerry phones. All of them, ranging from the Bold 9900 through to the Curve 9360, have much faster processors and an updated OS that can usually handle 720p video and 3D gaming. Their sales prospects are uncertain but may give a lift while RIM works on its first phone with a truly modern OS, the Colt.

by MacNN Staff



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