RIM has "lost it": Shareholders call for company break-up, or sell-off

Shareholders led by Jaguar Financial are calling on the BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to be "broken up" or "sold off", as the company struggles into the New Year.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

As Research in Motion continues to struggle into 2012 with its failing PlayBook tablet and considerable price slashes, a group of shareholders is calling on the Canadian company to be broken up, or put up for sale. At the least, it appears that RIM may be moving toward naming a new chairman.

According to the Financial Post,  RIM is leaning toward a new chairman, Barbara Stymiest. She would replace co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. The Financial Post reported:

A committee of seven independent directors of RIM’s board, including Ms. Stymiest, have been examining the company’s board structure, including the merits of having an independent chair rather than a lead director and the “business necessity” for Messrs. Lazaridis and Balsillie — who are also co-CEOs — to hold significant board titles.

Meanwhile, the calls for a breakup continue---led by activist' shareholder Jaguar Financial, whose chief executive Vic Alboini spoke to the BBC's World Service this morning.

Alboini said that: "The party is over", adding that many have "lost confidence in the management team". He went on to say it would be an ideal opportunity for value investors to step in, saying "RIM is worth a heck of a lot more than what it is currently trading at."

The company's share price has plunged more than 75 percent in 2011 after a series of outages that spread over five continents including the United States and Canada, over a period of four days. RIM has also struggled with poor sales and persistent delays of product launches which failed to drum up consumer interest.

Alboini said that while the company could be broken up, the "iconic" BlackBerry smartphone range could continue. He also said that the management team in Canada was also "iconic", but that the "legacy was over": the issue now is how to drive the business forward from the brink of collapse.

The 75 million BlackBerry subscribers that the company operates should be "opened up to all smartphones," Alboini said, signalling that should 'rebel' shareholders get their way,  the security and encryption features that the network offers could reach third-party phones.

"Under the direction of the [current] CEO, we think that this business could be more than its current $22-23 [share price] value", he said.


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