RIM must monetize patents or sell up investors demand

Sep 6, 2011
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RIM is facing pressure to spin off its patents, with investors demanding that the Canadian company either consider monetizing its IP or give serious consideration to selling itself. The proposals have been spawned by Jaguar Financial Corp., which told SFGate that RIM's sole focus on its incoming QNX product line-up amounts to putting "all your eggs in one basket" and leaves the firm facing potential bankruptcy in the manner of Nortel Networks.

"The board should be saying, 'What if these products don't pan out?'" Jaguar CEO Vic Alboini told the paper. "You don't want RIM to turn into another Nortel." The merchant bank has not only a stake in RIM itself - though it refuses to reveal exactly how much that amounts to - but claims the support of other stakeholders in the company. Still, those others still only amount to less than 5-percent of RIM, it admits.

It's not the only insurrection RIM has faced from shareholders this year. Back in June, the company conceded to looking into the possibility of splitting current co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, one taking sole responsibility for the CEO role and the other as chairman. Alboini describes RIM's agreement to report on the proposal by the end of January 2012 "woefully inadequate" however.

"[It's an] extreme example that management has not let go" he argues. RIM, meanwhile, has declined to comment.


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