Tag: Wireless Industry NewsPage 2 of 10

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|

Register for WES 2009 now and save $400!

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2009 is barely out of swaddling clothes, but it’s already time to talk about WES 2009, which takes place in sunny Orlando, Florida, from May 5th to 7th. Maybe that’s because WES 2008 was such a great show, with tonnes of people, energy and enthusiasm. Our friends in Waterloo are already banging the drum for registrations, and while I would normally ignore such requests until the last possible minute (no offense meant guys, I also have this mindset with movie rentals and filing taxes), RIM has sweetened the pot with a fairly hefty discount. If you register for WES 2009 before March 6th, you can save $400, not exactly chump change in these troubling times. We’ve included the WES registration link below, as well as links for hotel registration and a list of keynote speakers (Mikey L. and Malcolm Gladwell, yes!). See you at WES 2009!

WES 2009 Registration Page
WES 2009 Hotel Registration Page
WES 2009 Keynote Speakers List

Balsillie receives award amid allegations of financial impropriety

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RIM CEO Jim BalsillieThe Globe and Mail was on hand last Thursday for an award luncheon in honor of RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who was named ‘Outstanding Business Leader of the Year’ by Wilfrid Laurier University. The event gained additional poignancy because it came on the same day news broke that Canadian regulators were seeking C$100 million from Co-CEO’s Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis for their role in a stock option accounting controversy dating back to 1996. While the luncheon crowd was clearly biased in their defense of Mr. Balsillie at the event (Joan Fisk, CEO of the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, referred to Balsillie as “our boy”), significant questions as to the political timing of the charges.

Last week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he will push ahead with the creation of a national securities regulator, after the release of the final report on the subject, conducted by a panel appointed by Mr. Flaherty and led by former Conservative cabinet minister Tom Hockin.

“I’m absolutely opposed to what the OSC has proposed here. I think it is grandstanding of the highest magnitude and opportunistic given the Hockin report has just come out and all of a sudden the OSC wants to be seen as a regulatory tiger that has teeth. It’s no coincidence whatsoever,” Mr. Foerster said.

“All they’ve done is found individuals with the greatest pockets,” he added. “If I were Balsillie or Lazaridis, I would fight this all the way given the OSC’s track record with respect to litigation.”

Some have argued however, that regardless of timing, the Canadian government is sending a clear and important message to the business community. Wrong is wrong, right?

Continue reading ‘Balsillie receives award amid allegations of financial impropriety’

Oh snap! VeriSign buys Certicom for C$92 million

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What a bad week for RIM. First, they’re forced to withdraw their hostile takeover bid of Certicom due to a Superior Court Order. Then, news breaks that RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie may be dinged for up to C$100 million for a backdating scandal (it looks like Balsillie may also have to step down from the Board of Directors). To close out the week, RIM has awoken today to learn that Internet security provider VeriSign has agreed to purchase Certicom for C$2.10 a share, roughly C$92 million total. VeriSign’s offer trumps RIM’s C$1.50 a share offer – I guess Certicom was serious when they said RIM had undervalued them.

Certicom board chairman Jeffrey Chisholm said “The special committee and the board conducted a thorough process on behalf of Certicom shareholders resulting in a significant increase in value for the company and its owners. We believe this transaction also represents a very promising opportunity for our customers and employees.”

Honestly, RIM, just go back to bed. Take a waiver on the day, have a fun weekend, and come back Monday pretending this week never happened. Thanks to my boy M-Dawg for the tip!

Read full Certicom Press Release

How much will Certicom failure hurt RIM?

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RIM logo While we have closely covered the back and forth between RIM and Canadian security specialist Certicom, we’ve never really taken the time to discuss why exactly RIM put forth the hostile bid after months of courting. Thankfully, James Rogers of TheStreet.com has done the work for us in a recent article:

Certicom develops a technology called Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), which is used to secure data on a range of devices, including smartphones. The National Security Agency uses the same technique, and Certicom licenses its technology to a range of companies, including IBM, General Dynamics, Motorola and RIM.

Certicom is also openly canvassing other suitors, which could increase the pressure on RIM. Last month, for example, Certicom granted a number of un-named parties access to its ‘data room’ in an attempt to drive up its valuation. “The information provided in the data room is intended to facilitate offers reflecting the fair value of Certicom from interested parties,” it said, in a statement.

So in effect, by failing to takeover Certicom, RIM has lost out in three different ways: saving money by eliminating the ECC licensing fees, making money from licensing the technology to competitors, and extending its competitive advantage on security. The question becomes how much this failure has hurt RIM in the long run. Post a comment and let us know what you think.

|via TheStreet|

Canadian regulators seeking C$100 million from Balsillie, Lazaridis

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Potentially big news coming via the Globe and Mail this morning regarding RIM’s braintrust. Canadian regulators are seeking a record penalty as high as C$100 million from Co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie for their role in a stock option accounting controversy dating back to 1996. For those that don’t remember, this is the same scandal that led to Balsillie stepping down as RIM Chairman.

In 2007, a special committee of RIM’s board investigated the back-dating issue, and determined the company had backdated more than 40 per cent of stock options granted to employees since 1996. It also concluded that 12 of the 16 option grants made to Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis between 1996 and 2006, to acquire a total of two million shares, were priced using an incorrect date.

Reached last night at his home, Balsillie declined to comment on what he described as “rumours,” the paper reported. Neither Lazaridis nor his lawyer could be reached. A spokeswoman for the OSC said: “We can’t comment on enforcement cases.”

The Ontario Securities Commision is apparently pushing for Balsillie to pay the bulk of any penalty and relinquish his seat on RIM’s board of directors for a period of time. If the full $100-million penalty were approved, it would rank as the largest penalty paid by individuals to the OSC.

|via Globe and Mail|