BlackBerry Maker RIM Doubles Up for Certicom
Research In Motion offered $106.5 million in order to acquire Certicom, which creates both hardware- and software-security solutions. This doubles RIM's original bid for the company, which it was forced to raise after VeriSign stepped in with an aggressive offer.Following weeks of back-and-forth negotiations, Certicom agreed to an acquisition by Research In Motion, which had engaged in a sometimes-fierce bidding war with VeriSign over the Canadian security hardware and software maker. The deal between RIM and Certicom was approved Feb. 10, but a joint statement made no mention of when it would finalize.
In December, RIM launched a hostile takeover bid for the company, which owns more than 350 patents related to Elliptic Curve Cryptography and whose client list includes IBM, Oracle and Motorola. Elliptic Curve Cryptography provides the most security per bit of any known public-key scheme, making it a valuable acquisition for a company such as RIM that deals heavily with communications.
"RIM's hostile bid undervalues both Certicom's valuable and unique industry-leading data encryption technology," Certicom said in a letter to stockholders at the time. "RIM is attempting to acquire almost $2 in cash and potential tax benefits for $1.50, and would not be paying fair value for the valuable assets and operations of your company."
Certicom even went to court on Dec. 22 in an attempt to block the bid. On Jan. 20, an Ontario Superior Court granted Certicom a permanent injunction blocking the deal, and RIM announced it was withdrawing the bid.
On Jan. 23, VeriSign swooped in with a bid that was some 40 percent more than RIM's, and Certicom seemed poised to take it. That was before RIM returned to the table with double its original offer.
Under the new deal, RIM will pay the equivalent of roughly $106.5 million in U.S. dollars in order to complete the deal. Certicom will pay a $4 million termination fee to VeriSign.
Whatever the twists and turns that went into the deal, both RIM and Certicom publicly seem to want to let bygones be bygones.
"The Board and Special Committee believe that the process we undertook has delivered the optimal value to our shareholders," Jeffrey Chisholm, chairman of the board of directors for Certicom, said in a statement. "The Board of Directors of Certicom has concluded that the RIM transaction is in the best interests of the corporation."