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RIM Bids for Certicom's Phone Security

BlackBerry has today made a hostile takeover bid for wireless VPN pioneer Certicom Corp. (Toronto: CIC), offering around $66 million Canadian dollars ($53.1 million) for the company.

The BlackBerry vendor says that the unsolicited offer represents more than a 75 percent premium on the value of Certicom’s shares as they stood on Dec. 2. “As we are unable to engage Certicom management in a meaningful dialogue to advance the terms of a potential transaction, we believe it is in the best interests of our respective shareholders, employees and customers to make this attractive offer directly to Certicom shareholders now,” said Jim Balsillie, CEO of RIM, in the statement announcing the bid.

Certicom has been in the handset security business for a long time. It introduced its first wireless VPN for cellphones in 2002. (See Certicom Intros Wireless VPN.) The company has worked with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Opera Software ASA , and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) over the years.

RIM has also lowered its forecast for the third quarter, which it is due to announce on Dec. 16, citing fewer new subscribers than it had been expecting for the period. RIM is now expecting third-quarter revenue to fall between $2.75 to $2.78 billion. A Reuters analyst’s spread had forecast from $2.77 to $3.10 billion.

The company’s core enterprise market, which includes many Wall Street and financial customers, is suffering in the downturn. RIM, however, says that it has seen “strong momentum” in subscriber numbers following the recent launch of its touch-screen Storm. (See First Look: RIM Storm From Verizon.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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