RIM Surges on Speculation It May Explore Alternatives

Tuesday, 04 Oct 2011 01:37 PM

 

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Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, surged more than 8 percent for the second time in a week amid speculation the company may have hired an investment bank to explore strategic alternatives.

RIM rose 89 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $21.39 at 11:09 a.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market, after gaining as much as 9.7 percent. Last week, the stock climbed on speculation that billionaire Carl Icahn may take a stake in the company.

“It’s looking less and less likely that they can make the turnaround on their own,” said Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Morgan Keegan Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, who rates RIM “market perform.” “So whether they’re hiring an investment bank to help defend themselves against activists or outright sell themselves or explore alternatives, those are the kinds of stories that make sense to investors,”

RIM had plunged 65 percent this year before today as the company loses ground to Apple Inc. and handset makers that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system. The Waterloo, Ontario- based handset maker’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 12 percent in the second quarter from 19 percent a year earlier, according to Gartner Inc.

Icahn, a veteran corporate raider, had pushed for a board seat at handset maker Motorola Inc. and pressured the company to split in two, which it did in January. In August, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., the business that makes mobile phones, agreed to sell itself to Google for $12.5 billion.

Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for RIM, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

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