Shares in Research in Motion, the company behind Blackberry mobile messaging service, were up today even though its customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were hit by a second day of service failures.
The share price hike followed an aggressive note from Jaguar Financial Corporation, which slammed Blackberry and called for the company to “commence a value maximisation effort process that may include the sale of RIM”.
Blackberry users today saw short-term restoration of services that went down yesterday, before some lost email and messaging again. In response to the mounting crisis for its customers, RIM was tight lipped again today, issuing a second statement that raised more questions than answers.
“Some users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, India, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina are experiencing messaging and browsing delays. We are working to restore normal service as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused,” it stated.
The EMEA service failure will fuel complaints in the Jaguar Financial Corporation report, which cites the following concerns:
- Poor share price performance
- Lack of innovation resulting in a loss of market share
- Corporate governance concerns
- Recent consolidation in the mobile and patent spaces
Vic Alboini, Chairman and CEO of Jaguar, said: “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.”
Jaguar highlighted RIM’s share price collapse from $149.90 in June 2008 to $29.59 on 2 September, 2011, an 80 percent decline, while comparable tech stocks were down around 15 percent over the period.
“RIM’s chronic underperformance and repeated delays in executing its strategy have led Jaguar to the conclusion that fundamental change at RIM is required. Most importantly, RIM’s competitors have seen a significant increase in market share at RIM’s expense, both in the enterprise and consumer markets, and a corresponding increase in share price and overall valuation,” said Jaguar.
It put this share price fall down squarely to lack of innovation. RIM’s “failure to offer products with innovative features, combined with its limited selection of applications, has resulted in RIM losing market share to its competitors,” it added.
Jaguar praised the email and security capabilities of RIM’s BlackBerry platform, but bemoaned the fact that BlackBerry is now number 3 in the market that it effectively created.
“With a reduced market share for RIM there is the serious risk that developers of mobile applications will prioritize developing applications for RIM’s competitors. There should be a concerted focus for RIM to encourage or finance the development of cutting edge mobile applications. This lack of an effective ecosystem is a key shortcoming that needs to be addressed,” said Jaguar.
It highlighted an “on-going exodus of RIM’s human capital,” which raised questions about the company’s “ability to inspire and retain the talent that will be essential for RIM to regain its competitive standing.”
Jaguar slammed RIM’s corporate structure with co-CEOs and co-chairmen, which it described as “ineffectual”. In June RIM announced the formation of a committee of independent directors to look at the company’s structure, but Jaguar said, this was a compromise that “clearly demonstrates the complacency that has led to the Company’s downfall, as well as the disconnect between the Board and its shareholder base.”
In a final swipe at RIM, Jaguar highlighted the M&A activity in the mobile industry and in patents and intellectual property, including Google’s $12.5 billion proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility; Wi-LAN Inc.’s $480 million offer for MOSAID and the $4.5 billion acquisition of Nortel’s patents by a consortium of six companies including RIM.
Jaguar said RIM with “its own stock of coveted patents … is positioned to benefit from the increased appetite for intellectual property, but the Board must change course and recognize the opportunity.
Jaguar describes itself as a Canadian merchant bank which invests in underperforming, undervalued or unappreciated companies.