Canadian merchant bank and RIM investor Jaguar Financial Corp. calls the attention of the BlackBerry-maker’s board to chew over other strategic alternatives, including selling the company or at least some of its patent-holding branches, following a dramatic decline in stock-market performance, lost market share due to a lack of innovation, a string of key employee departures and an “ineffective” corporate structure.
“The status quo is not acceptable, the company cannot sit still. It is time for transformational change. The directors need to seize the reins to maximize shareholder value before more market value is lost,” Vic Alboini, chairman and chief executive of Jaguar, said in a statement.
The activist investor also asked the company to hold a shareholder value maximization process, led by a special committee of four or five from its seven independent directors. Jaguar is not listed as one of the company’s biggest investors, neither did it spill how much RIM shares it holds, so the extent of its influence on the company remains a mystery.
RIM has gotten a great deal of criticism in the smartphone and tablet arena after a string of dreary performances. Even a series of product roll outs and cloud strategies were unable to save the company. Its grip in the North American market is also starting to wear off, and the lost market goes to either Apple or Google’s Android. The latter just launched in 2008 but it has reached unprecedented levels of success. Android powers a wide array of smartphones from different manufacturers, and it’s the dominant mobile OS today.
RIM had successfully calmed the waves of investor wariness that hit its shores earlier this year. In an open letter allegedly written by an RIM executive and published by BGR, the company’s management and board structure, as well as its working culture, was heavily criticized and even asked its two CEOs to step down. It almost led to a shareholder vote over the controversial management, with Balsillie and Lizadiris at the helm. Luckily for the two, they managed to soothe investors after pledging to study the company’s structure and submitting an early 2012 report. Here’s a good read of RIM’s series of failures over the past 12 months.