RIM investor urges fast shake-up; shares rise

Tue Sep 6, 2011 1:01pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - An activist shareholder in Research In Motion said on Tuesday it wants the struggling BlackBerry maker to consider selling itself or spinning off its patent portfolio, sending RIM's share price higher.

Jaguar Financial Corp said it wants the Canadian company's board to wrest power from co-Chief Executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie and for up to five of RIM's independent board members to explore options to maximize shareholder value.

RIM shares were up 1.3 percent at midday Tuesday at $30.52 on the Nasdaq and gained 2.3 percent to C$30.26 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Both markets were down sharply overall.

RIM shares have lost almost half their value since the start of the year.

"Our call is for (RIM's board) to take action; no more study, take action. Take action now, before it's too late," Jaguar Chief Executive Vic Alboini said in an interview.

Alboini said Jaguar has talked to a select group of shareholders and received broadly positive feedback for its plan.

"We haven't found one who wasn't supportive," he said. "We haven't found any opposition."

Jaguar, a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies, and its supporters hold less than 5 percent of RIM's stock. It said it now intends to contact a broader section of large shareholders. If a consensus emerges, it plans to push RIM directly with demands for action.   Continued...