RIM's New Bid for Certicom Trumps VeriSign's, Says Board

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Research In Motion has doubled the value of its previous offer to buy elliptic curve cryptography specialist Certicom, one of its suppliers. Certicom's board of directors says RIM's latest offer is superior to the bid it accepted from VeriSign last month. The board is waiting for a counterbid from VeriSign.

RIM first made a hostile bid for Certicom in December, valuing the company at around C$66 million (US$52 million). RIM uses Certicom's elliptic curve encryption software in its BlackBerry smartphones, and owning the company could allow it to cut costs or to better integrate the encryption software in its products.

Certicom's board dismissed RIM's offer of C$1.50 per share as too low, however, and on Jan. 20 RIM withdrew the offer after a judge ruled it was based in part on information obtained from Certicom under nondisclosure agreements, disadvantaging rival bidders not privy to the same information.

VeriSign stepped in on Jan. 23 with a bid of C$2.10 per share, which Certicom's board advised shareholders to accept.

Certicom's board received RIM's latest bid of C$3 per share on Tuesday, and informed VeriSign on Wednesday that it considered it a superior offer. Apart from the price, the two bids are otherwise similar, Certicom's board said.

RIM's offer is open until Feb. 12, so VeriSign now has until Feb. 11 to decide whether to outbid RIM, Certicom's board said. If VeriSign doesn't bid again, Certicom must then decide whether to pay a C$4 million termination fee and accept RIM's offer, the board said.

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