Research in Motion should look into selling itself or its treasure trove of patents, an investor tells Bloomberg today.
Vic Alboini, chief executive of merchant bank Jaguar Financial Corp. and an investor in RIM, said in an interview with Bloomberg today that RIM should create a committee made up of independent directors to evaluate its potential strategic options. Albioni said in the interview that his proposal has the support of several other shareholders who collectively hold less than 5 percent of the company's outstanding shares.
RIM has come under fire from investors and customers alike due to several misfires over the past few months, including the lukewarm reception it received for its PlayBook tablet and the delayed launch of its new line of BlackBerry smartphones. While its latest flagship phone, the BlackBerry Bold, has seen positive reviews, its pricing and older operating system still leave it behind rivals such as the iPhone and other Android-powered smartphones.
This isn't the first time an investor has called for changes at RIM. In June, Northwest & Ethical Investments sought to split the roles of chairman and CEO, which were shared by co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. The fund was only one company that criticized RIM's top-heavy management structure.
Albioni said the company's agreement to form a committee to look at splitting the roles was "woefully inadequate."
His calls to sell the patent portfolio come as the value of intellectual property in the wireless area is at an all-time high. In July, Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn had urged Motorola Mobility to consider selling its patents. Last month, Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, largely for those patents.
Jaguar Financial, however, has far less sway on RIM than Icahn had on Motorola.
When asked by CNET, a RIM representative declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.