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VeriSign will not match RIM’s offer for Certicom

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RIM logoIt appears as though RIM’s persistence has paid off. Little more than a week after RIM doubled their offer for Certicom, the security software maker has received a notice from its other main suitor VeriSign that it will make no attempt to match RIM’s offer.

Certicom’s board of directors will be meeting today, and are expected to approve RIM’s C$131 million bid. For their troubles, VeriSign will receive a C$4 million termination fee if RIM’s takeover goes through. I’m still interested in learning if VeriSign ever seriously thought they would obtain Certicom, or saw the whole situation as a potential cash grab. Let’s hope there’s not another OSC investigation.

|via Reuters|

Telus Mobile Music now has 25,000 tracks from Quebec artists

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Those that know me know I’m a huge fan of music and particularly a connoisseur of Canadian music. The big story of the Canadian music scene recently has been all the great bands coming out of Quebec, and Montreal in particular (sorry Toronto and Vancouver, but you know it’s true). That’s why I was immediately excited when my friends at Telus tipped me off that their Mobile Music service now has 25,000 tracks by home-grown artists, making it the largest collection of Quebec songs for mobile phones.

TELUS will continue to expand its musical library by adding new productions from Quebec-based record companies, such as TACCA Musique, Audiogram, Indica Records, Déjà Musique, Sphere Musique, Vega Musique, Dare to Care, Grosse Boîte, K.Pone.Inc Music Group, Iro Productions, Tandem.mu and Abuzive Muzik, as soon as they are released. The most avid music lovers will be able to enjoy new releases in real time, without having to wait to buy their favourite artist’s latest album.

25,000 tracks is a lot. I was strolling through the list and found composer Coeur de pirate (shown above), which I recommend because I think her name translates to “Heart of a Pirate” or potentially “Heart Pirate”. Telus customers can find their own favorite artist at www.telus.com/music. Tracks start at $0.99 each, or for $20.00 per month, music fans can also download an unlimited number of tracks from a catalogue of over one million songs. The full press release is after the jump.

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Fido launches the BlackBerry Pearl 8100

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After a few months of speculation, Fido has relaunched BlackBerry service with the BlackBerry Pearl 8100. That’s right, not the BlackBerry 8120 or even the 8110, but the BlackBerry 8100. However, Fido is Rogers’ low-end consumer brand, so there must be some sort of deal involved, correct? Well, the promo image above shows that the Pearl 8100 can be purchased for $25 with a 3 year Fido agreement/data plan. Hmm, three years is a long time, so what about some sort of month to month option? $400 freaking dollars? What about the data plans?

    * $15 – Unlimited personal email and IM
    * $25 – 500MB
    * $30 – 1GB
    * $60 – 3GB

Ok, at least that’s pretty sane. For the youth demographic, though, $15 a month for email and IM (what they want the BlackBerry for anyways) and another $15 for phone service (based upon their cheapest rate) isn’t that bad. But instead of paying $400 or signing a three year contract, swing by the BBCool HQ first: we have a box of old 8100s that we’d be willing to give away, guaranteed (guarantee void in Tennessee).

Fido BlackBerry Pearl Promo

BREAKING: RIM settles with OSC for $76 million, Balsillie to step down from board

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Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

Woah. It looks like the Ontario Securities Commission has made their decision on a possible settlement with RIM over their backdating scandal. The news is fresh as of an hour ago, so I’m just going to quote straight from Reuters:

Research In Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie will step down from the board and, along with other executives of the company that makes the BlackBerry smartphone, will repay tens of millions of dollars to settle stock-option allegations dating back to 1996.

Under the pact reached with the Ontario Securities Commission and approved on Thursday, Balsillie will pay a penalty of C$5 million ($4.1 million), while Co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis will pay a C$1.5 million penalty. The two men also must pay investigation costs to the regulator.

The agreement also stipulates that the two co-CEOs and RIM’s former CFO, Dennis Kavelman, will repay C$38.3 million to the company. They must also repay about C$30 million to cover the costs of a voluntary internal probe into the matter undertaken by RIM earlier.

Balsillie and Lazaridis had already paid C$15 million to offset the costs of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s internal review. Balsillie may not serve on RIM’s board for at least 12 months as part of the settlement, and Kavelman must pay a C$1.5 million penalty.

The OSC alleged the executives backdated and repriced stock options using dates on which the market price of RIM’s shares was relatively low. Handing out options at the lower prices had the effect of improperly enriching the recipients and, the OSC alleged, could have deprived RIM of about C$66 million.

It’s a huge chunk of change, but at least RIM can now put this whole affair behind them. You can see statements from Balsillie and the OSC after the jump.

|via Reuters|

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RIM likely to win in Certicom bidding war

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RIM logoYou have to hand it to RIM, when they see something they want, they really go after it. Earlier this week, RIM doubled their offer to security technology company Certicom, offering C$131.1 million or about 43% more than VeriSign’s bid. VeriSign has until Feb. 11 to submit an amended offer under its arrangement with Certicom, but analysts believe they are unlikely to prevail.

A counter-bid from VeriSign is unlikely, said Blackmont Capital analyst Lawrence Rhee, because RIM’s richer offer shows its commitment to acquire Certicom.

“They could notch it up higher, but I just think VeriSign thinks that RIM will come and outbid it again. So why go through that process,” Rhee said. “I think they’re both motivated to try and purchase this asset, it’s just I think RIM has proven that they want it more.”

Things won’t end too badly for VeriSign, as the company will receive a C$4 million termination fee if Certicom does not accept its bid. Hmm, sounds like a pretty nice chunk of change to help Certicom get a higher valuation out of RIM. However, it seems that acquiring Certicom is worth it for RIM regardless the cost.

“I wouldn’t say it’s all Certicom’s technology that explains the strength of the security around RIM. I think it’s a key component. I think what RIM wants is to be able to ensure continued development of ECC going forward. If its gets into a competitor’s hands … then maybe RIM would be worried,” Rhee said.

Hopefully this sordid affair will be over by February 11th, and we can avoid having it come to a duel-to-the-death between Jim Balsillie and VeriSign’s CEO.

|via Reuters|

RIM doubles offer for Certicom

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RIM logoIt looks like the fat lady hasn’t sung yet for RIM’s hopes to purchase Canadian security company Certicom. After Certicom had successfully lobbied the Superior Court to strike down RIM’s hostile bid, instead choosing a larger offer from VeriSign, we recommended that RIM forget the whole mess even happened. Instead, the boys and girls from Waterloo have rolled up their sleeves and rushed back into the game.

Reuters is reporting that RIM has returned with a second offer for Certicom today, doubling its bid to C$3 a share, or about C$131.1 million in total. RIM’s new offer is about 43% higher than VeriSign’s bid.

Certicom has said its independent directors are reviewing the RIM bid with its financial and legal advisers and has plans to tell shareholders what it thinks of the offer no later than Thursday.

|via Reuters|