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Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaridis have come under fire from investors of Research in Motion, who insist major change is needed.  (Source: RIM)

A sale to a rival, such as Google, is one possible solution, according to investors.  (Source: Despuesdegoogle)
Two separate proposals suggest sale of intellectual property and shakeup of executive ranks

Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) circa 2006-2007 appeared unstoppable.  The company was beloved by businesses worldwide and was growing fast in market share and sales.  Even Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barrack Obama was deeply attached to his BlackBerry smartphone.

I. Should RIM Sell Itself?

Fast-forward five years and that vibrant company is an increasingly distant memory.  In its place is a company with a slow pace of releases, dated hardware (
the Blackberry 9860, to launch in October, will be BlackBerry's first and only smartphone this fall to compete with Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android hardware-wise).  Unsurprisingly sales growth has slumped both in the U.S. and abroad.  Correspondingly, the company's stock has taken a beating at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Investors, desperate to see a turnaround, have implored RIM to explore a pair of options.

The latest effort suggests that RIM sell its rich catalog of intellectual property -- or perhaps sell its entire business to the highest bidder.  Investors salivated at Google's 
recent purchase of Motorola Mobility, which brought a handsome return for shareholders.  A RIM sale would help investors recoup their losses and perhaps even profit.

Google and others are thought to be potential buyers.

The proposal is being spearheaded by Jaguar Financial Corp. (
TSE:JFC).  JFC refuses to reveal the size of its stake in RIM, but it says it represents a coalition of various shareholders who together hold a bit under 5 percent of the company's stock (RIM has a market cap of $16.45B USD at present, so this works out to roughly $822M USD in stock).

II. Second Proposal Suggests Shakeup in Top Executive Positions

JFC CEO Vic Alboini also expressed dismay at the company's lackluster response to a second independent proposal.  

The Northwest & Ethical Investments LP in June said that RIM's Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis's decision to split Chairman and CEO duties was adversely affecting the company.  They suggested the company assign one executive to each post.

RIM agreed to examine the proposal, but said they probably wouldn't get around to announcing their thoughts until January 2012.  Mr. Alboini called that slow response "woefully inadequate" and "an extreme example that management has not let go."

III. If QNX Bid Fails Will RIM Become Nortel 2.0?

Mr. Alboini is also pessimistic about RIM's last-ditch turnaround effort with its new QNX operating system.  The new operating system, which debuted on the company's PlayBook tablet, is
scheduled to roll out to the company's smartphones next year, replacing the veteran BlackBerry operating system.

Thus far, however, QNX has 
drawn mixed reviews, with many saying the best thing about it is the ability to play (some) Android apps on it.  However, many fear that Google may close that route as more RIM devices adopt QNX.

While Mr. Alboini admits that it could have a positive impact, he says the cost of failure is to great to gamble by counting on such a success.  He remarks in a Bloomberg 
interview, "The board should be saying, 'What if these products don’t pan out?' You don’t want RIM to turn into another Nortel."

Nortel Networks, like RIM, used to be a highly prized Canadian mobile services firm.  But stagnation 
bred an eventual bankruptcy and fire sale of the company's intellectual property in a bid by shareholders to recoup part of their losses.

Mr. Alboini fears RIM could eventually meet a similar fate and says the time to act is now.  And he's not alone.  In a highly publicized letter, a departing executive 
lashed out at the company's leadership for failing to respond to the changing market.  He remarked, "I have lost confidence. While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone..."

RIM categorically rejected the criticism, insisting it was doing just fine.

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china to rule them all....!
By riottime on 9/7/2011 6:01:30 PM , Rating: -1
if yahoo sell...china will buy...
if rim sell...china will buy...
pretty soon...china will rule all...x)
america will be 3rd world country...xo

RE: china to rule them all....!
By nocturne_81 on 9/7/2011 6:51:27 PM , Rating: 3
This type of fear mongering would fit right in over at Fox News...

China has 3 times our population (and a much higher percentage under 35), yet the United States has 2.5x the GDP (we're still #1, China #2... and no, the EU doesn't count)..

But China owns a huge chunk of our debt, right? Not really.. They own little more than one trillion in debt bonds, just a marginal amount more than Japan. So who owns the most..? Us private citizens do, holding more than 10 trillion dollars worth of USA's debt bonds.

But once China stops undervaluing their currency, their GDP will crush us, right? Nope.. They're taking a real gamble -- once the bubble pops, they're risking collapsing their entire economy with drastically rising inflation.

We may not be the same country we were in the 50s, but we haven't fallen so far.. We're still on top. When our economy trembles, so does the world's. We may not be as prosperous as small socialist scandinavian nations like Norway -- but we are more prosperous than we were 50 yrs ago (though maybe not as much as 10 years ago).

Have a little pride in your country, people!

By someguy123 on 9/7/2011 7:18:23 PM , Rating: 3
China is doing pretty unethical things in my mind when it comes to business, but in all honesty they're doing exactly what they need to do to prevent explosive inflation from becoming an issue. Even if these businesses were to dive out, China has stolen so much information that they would be more than able to become isolated and self sustained once again. They're also one of the few places pumping out brand new nuclear reactors.

China may lose out on western business, but in reality the worst that can happen is that they become as isolated as they were before Nixon, yet with substantially better technology and foundation for advancement.

By nocturne_81 on 9/7/2011 6:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
Oh... and yahoo will never be sold or pieced apart.. they may have lost some face, but they still hold an incredible amount of assets.

You could bring up IBM... but then again, they were always an international company. They worked for both the USA and Germany during WWII, after all.

And RIM..? Eh, it's canadian.. Let Canada worry about it.. x]

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