RIM makes bid to acquire Certicom

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Inc. has made a hostile attempt to buy Canadian security vendor Certicom Corp.

Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM said it plans to make a formal offer to Certicom’s shareholders on or before Dec. 12. to buy all shares of Certicom for $1.50 each, for a total cost of $66 million. Shares in Certicom were trading for $1.70 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Thursday morning, but had been trading at less than $1 when RIM announced it would make its offer.

Certicom lost US$2.9 million during the quarter ending Oct. 31. The Mississauga, Ont.-based vendor makes security products for manufacturers, the military and other government departments using elliptic curve cryptography and public key infrastructure technologies. It says its products meet the U.S. National Security Agency’s standards.

Daintree Networks of Freemont, Calif. announced last summer it is using Certicom’s ECC technology for its Sensor Network Analyzer (SNA) for ZigBee Smart Energy products.

RIM said it has been talking with Certicom managers for nearly two years about a possible acquisition but claimed it is “unable to engage Certicom management in a meaningful dialogue to advance the terms of a potential transaction ..”

The company’s CEO, Karna Gupta, was appointed nearly a year ago.

Certicom responded to RIM’s takeover offer by stating its board of directors “ will evaluate and consider the adequacy of RIM’s proposal, solicit other proposals, consider the full range of alternatives to maximize shareholder value and make a recommendation to the full Board of Certicom.”

It has formed a special committee, comprised of three company directors: J. Ian Giffen, Jim Fleck and Jeffrey Chisholm.

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