RIM Takes Another Run at Certicom

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BlackBerry maker Research in Motion spend much of the latter part of 2008 trying to take over encryption developer Certicom—only to have the company seemingly poached out from under them in late January by Verisign. Although Certicom signed a deal to be acquired by Verisign, RIM apparently believes money can talk—it has gone back to Certicom with a new offer that’s nearly twice as rich as the original proposal…and Certicom confirms RIM’s new pitch beats Verisign.

Verisign agreed to acquire Certicom for $2.10 CDN per share; RIM’s new offer is $3.00 CDN per share, totaling roughly $106 million USD. Under the acquisition agreement, Verisign has until February 11 to determine if it wants to beat RIM’s new offer…although Verisign isn’t obligated to put any more money on the table. If Verisign doesn’t up its bid, Certicom will have to decide whether to pay a $4 million CDN termination fee to accept RIM’s offer.

And just to add to the tension, RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie will be stepping down from the company’s board along with other executives as part of an agreement to settle allegations of improperly backdating and reprising stock option grants. Under the settlement, Balsillie will pay a penalty of $5 million CDN and is barred from serving on the company’s board for a year; co-CEO Mike Lazaridis will pay a $1.5 million penalty. Both execs also get to pay investigation costs. The agreement also has both co-CEO’s and former CFO Dannis Kavelman repaying some $38.3 million CDN to RIM, along with $30 million CDN to cover costs of an internal probe into option backdating. The allegations held that backdating and re-pricing share options effectively deprived RIM of about $66 million CDN in revenue. The case dates back to 1996.

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