VeriSign buys Certicom after RIM withdraws bid

VeriSign said it plans to buy Certicom, just three days after Research In Motion’s hostile bid for the security company unraveled.

VeriSign will pay US$1.67 per share, or $73 million, for Certicom, which develops an elliptic curve cryptography technology.

Armed with Certicom’s ECC public-key encryption technology and its own SSL business, VeriSign expects to be able to enter new markets, it said. RIM proposed its $52 million bid directly to Certicom’s shareholders in December, after it said it had failed to engage Certicom in “meaningful dialogue.”

Certicom filed a lawsuit to block the bid, charging that RIM had breached nondisclosure agreements in making its offer.

The companies announced Monday that a court had ruled that RIM breached the agreements. The ruling meant that Certicom shareholders would not be able to accept the offer, RIM said.

RIM already offers a variety of security mechanisms and also uses ECC in its products, but an acquisition of Certicom may have let the BlackBerry maker offer the technology more cost-effectively and control its development.

Certicom’s board is recommending that shareholders accept VeriSign’s offer. The companies expect the transaction to close in March.

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