Activist investor says RIM blocked meeting

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 2:59 PM
Activist investor says RIM blocked meeting

TORONTO (Reuters) - Jaguar Financial, a Research In Motion investor agitating for a shake-up, said two independent RIM directors canceled meetings called this week to discuss complaints about the BlackBerry maker.

Jaguar, a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies, wants RIM to hire a chief executive to replace Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. It also wants RIM to consider putting itself up for sale, either as a whole or in parts.

Jaguar Chief Executive Vic Alboini said on Tuesday meetings with directors David Kerr and John Richardson were canceled by RIM's counsel.

"This incident clearly demonstrates the control that management has over the independent directors," said Alboini.

The current co-CEOs have presided over a steady decline in the BlackBerry's share of the smartphone market and have failed to keep pace with innovations by Apple and others, Alboini and other critics say. Balsillie and Lazaridis, who share the role of chairman, exert too much power over the board, they say.

Jaguar says shareholders representing 8 percent of RIM's stock back its demands, and investment bankers say that figure could grow if RIM fails to address their concerns.

Shares of RIM were down more than 2 percent at $22.93 in Nasdaq trade on Tuesday, as the BlackBerry maker launched a three-day developers conference in San Francisco.

At the event, RIM said it would soon launch a new operating system to power both its smartphones and the PlayBook tablet computer.

(Reporting by Pav Jordan; Editing by Frank McGurty)