RIM Investors Want Corporate Shake-up or Sale
Investors aren't too happy with RIM's response to Apple and Google's continued market share gain, and want a change in management or an outright sale of the company.
Research In Motion shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp claims that holders of at least 8-percent of RIM's stock are backing its campaign for a corporate "shake-up" or an outright sale of the struggling BlackBerry company. Jaguar Financial warned that the percentage could continue to rise as it pursues talks with shareholders about forcing RIM's board and management into dialog over the current situation. Around 20 have been contacted so far, a small portion compared to the more than 1,000 investment managers listed by Thomson One as stockholders.
There's no question that RIM has taken a beating over the last two years as the popularity over Apple's iPhone and Google's Android OS has overtaken RIM's own BlackBerry lineup. The Canadian company even launched its own tablet over the summer to a lackluster reception, causing rumors that RIM has slowed down production due to poor retail sales. With the iPhone 4S just released and Google's Ice Cream Sandwich on the way, RIM's popularity and market share are seemingly dwindling away.
Naturally stockholders want a solution that will secure their investment, a solution that could mean a shift in RIM's top managemernt. Jaguar Chief Executive Vic Alboini said on Tuesday that RIM leaders have lost their way in competing with the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Google. Jaguar actually wants RIM to hire a new chief executive to replace current co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
"It is time for RIM to bring in a transformational leader and a respected independent chairman," Alboini told Reuters.
Jaguar has also talked with shareholders about the sale of RIM if a change in management is not ideal or possible. "Everybody is in support of a sale of RIM or another value creative transaction ... like splitting the company into separate public companies - a network company, a device company and a patents company," he said.
Jaguar is a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies. It began to accumulate additional shares of RIM once the stock price began to plunge earlier this year. Alboini declined to say how many shares Jaguar now controls.
Reuters reports that Lazaridis and Balsillie hold more than 10-percent of the stock, and share a role as chairman of the board. The two are reportedly under prerssure by the board thanks to a series of profit warnings and the company's slow reposnse to the rapid changes in the mobile market. RIM is also transitioning to a new software system for operating its BlackBerry lineup while losing its share in the corporate email market in the process.
Shares of RIM rose more than 4 percent after Jaguar announced its plan to push for corporate changes.