Tag: Wireless Industry News

Telus Q4 profit down, revenue up

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Telus posted their Q4 2008 financial results today, reporting a drop in profit, but growth in revenue. Telus’ Fourth-quarter earnings fell to C$285 million (US$231.7 million), or 89 Canadian cents a share, from C$400 million, or C$1.22 a share, a year earlier. Telus blamed the loss in profit on fewer tax-related gains and increased spending on restructuring. Telus recorded favorable tax-related adjustments of C$32 million, compared with C$143 million a year earlier. It also said restructuring costs increased by C$32 million.

On the positive side, revenue rose 5.3% to C$2.45 billion on growth in wireless revenue, as wireless subscribers spent more on text messaging and social networking. Telus stated that more subscribers were picking up feature-rich smartphones, like the BlackBerry, and using services like messaging and Facebook, which boosts data revenue.

|via Reuters|

Handmark buys FreeRange

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MocoNews is reporting that Handmark has purchased software developer FreeRange for an undisclosed sum. FreeRange is a mobile RSS applications firm with a fairly popular RSS reader, but I find them more exciting for their work on the Wall Street Journal and AP News applications.

FreeRange has said it will use the additional resources from Handmark to expand its video support, and iPhone and Android support, but I’m hoping they’ll put their magic touch on Handmark’s own PocketExpress application. The AP News app developed by FreeRange is clean, pretty and slick, and I’d love to see a rebuilt PocketExpress from the ground up.

|via MocoNews|

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|

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|

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

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 reaches potential settlement with OSC

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Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

It looks like RIM is taking care of business this week. One day after doubling their offer to security company Certicom, the Ontario Securities Commission said in a statement that they have reached a potential settlement with RIM’s co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie following their investigation into a stock option scandal dating back to 1996.

The Ontario Securities Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that it would hold a hearing Feb 5 in Toronto on whether to approve a settlement its staff reached with the company and top executives including co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

The regulator issued a statement of allegations in which it alleged Balsillie, Lazaridis and other RIM executives “engaged in the grant of options, in which option backdating or option repricing occurred”. A call and e-mail to the company requesting comment on the specific allegations were not immediately returned.

While no indication of the settlement amount has surfaced, I’m sure RIM will be happy just to be able to put this behind them regardless of cost. We’ll find out tomorrow.

|via Reuters|