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RIM Shareholder Says More Investors Support Push for Sale

BlackBerry maker RIM has come under pressure from investors to make strategic changes after its stock lost more than half its value this year amid market-share losses to Apple Inc.  and Google Inc. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
BlackBerry maker RIM has come under pressure from investors to make strategic changes after its stock lost more than half its value this year amid market-share losses to Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Research In Motion Ltd. shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp. said more investors support its campaign to urge the BlackBerry maker to sell itself, seek a merger partner or divide into separate companies.

Investors owning 8 percent of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM now support Jaguar’s push, according to a statement today from the firm. Jaguar is in talks with other investors to bring the number to 12 percent, Vic Alboini, Jaguar’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in an interview. He declined to name any of the supporting shareholders or give the size of his stake.

RIM has come under pressure from investors to make strategic changes after its shares lost more than half their value this year amid market-share losses to Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Jaguar’s plan includes replacing co-CEOs and co-chairmen Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who have made RIM a “reactionary company trying to compete in an innovative industry.”

RIM is hurt by “management dominance and a lack of board oversight, which leads to a leaderless company,” Alboini said. “The timing is very ripe now for a new CEO to step in,” he said, adding he also wants RIM to have an independent chairman.

Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for RIM, didn’t return a message seeking comment.

In June, Northwest & Ethical Investments LP called for RIM to split the roles of chairman and CEO to shake up the leadership.

Activist Investor

Toronto-based Jaguar, which describes itself as a merchant bank that invests in undervalued small-cap companies, has been active in the past to pursue its goals. Hudbay Minerals Inc. agreed in 2009 to cancel its C$672 million ($534 million) takeover of Lundin Mining Corp. after Jaguar’s Alboini rallied shareholders to oppose the bid.

Jaguar, which is publicly traded and has a market capitalization of C$5.4 million, last month said shareholders owning less than 5 percent of RIM backed its plan.

Alboini, who is also CEO of investment firm Northern Securities Inc., is alleged along with colleagues to have broken trading and investment rules by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. He declined to comment today on the charges.

RIM rose 5.1 percent to $24.41 at the close in New York and has lost 58 percent this year.

Alboini said he hasn’t contacted RIM to discuss his concerns.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net; Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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