Optical/IP Networks

RIM Buys on the Downbeat

BlackBerry has been on an M&A binge for the past couple of weeks, first making a bid for security pioneer Certicom Corp. (Toronto: CIC), and following with a planned $18.9 million buyout of multimedia partner Chalk Media Inc. today. (See RIM to Acquire Chalk.)

The acquisition will see the BlackBerry maker make a $1.87 million loan to Chalk "to provide additional working capital to fund operations" until the completion of the deal. The transaction is expected to close in February 2009.

Chalk, a member of the BlackBerry ISV Alliance Program, developed the "Mobile chalkboard" software suite for the cult wireless email devices. The software allows organizations and enterprises to "pushcast" specific audio or video presentations to employees' BlackBerry devices.

Chalk is the second takeover that RIM has launched this month. The firm made a $53 million hostile bid for mobile VPN provider Certicom on December 3. (See RIM Bids for Certicom's Phone Security.) RIM said this week that the bid is now open to all Certicom shareholders, and that it will offer stockholders $1.20 a share.

The moves come on the heels of RIM posting a downbeat forecast for its third quarter, citing fewer new subscribers than it had been expecting for the period. RIM, which will announce results on Dec. 16, expects third-quarter revenue to fall between $2.75 billion and $2.78 billion.

Nonetheless, the company is taking advantage of gloomy market conditions to buy in more technology it needs and to hire more staff. The Canadian press is reporting that RIM is actively hiring engineers at the moment.

All very busy for a company whose last major buyout was Ascendent in 2006. (See RIM in Voice 'Push'.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

Sign In