RIM shares jump on Icahn stake talk

Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:53pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of Research In Motion jumped more than 6 percent on Tuesday on market speculation that activist investor Carl Icahn had taken a stake in the struggling BlackBerry maker.

Traders "are saying Icahn has taken a stake, but nothing is confirmed," BGC Partners tech analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters, as the shares rose $1.42, or 6.5 percent, to $23.04 on the Nasdaq.

Icahn's office and RIM were not immediately available for comment.

If Icahn takes a stake in RIM, he would likely seek a seat on the board and agitate in favor of strategies that unlock value for shareholders such as a break-up of the company or outright sale.

RIM's board has attracted criticism from some investors who feel it's been too feeble to agitate for change, with the Canadian company struggling to hold its own in the hyper-competitive smartphone and tablet computer markets.

"If it is true, it is very, very good for the shareholders of RIM because of what he has done previously in catalytic situations that he has been involved in," said Vic Alboini, the chief executive of Jaguar Financial, which is also seeking change at RIM.

Alboini pointed to Icahn's investment in Motorola, which he first pushed to split into two companies - Motorola Solutions Inc, which sells wireless equipment, and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc, which includes its handset and set-top box business.

Icahn later urged Motorola Mobility to split off its patents from its handset business. Earlier this year, Google paid $12.5 billion to acquire the business.   Continued...

<p>Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals &amp; Deal Makers conference, held at the New York Stock Exchange, June 27, 2007. REUTERS/Chip East</p>