Certicom Shareholders OK RIM Buyout

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Research In Motion finally is set to buy Certicom for about C$132 million (US$105 million) after the mobile security company's shareholders approved RIM's second, much higher offer.

The BlackBerry maker bid C$1.50 per share for Certicom in a hostile takeover attempt in early December. RIM said the two Canadian companies had talked about a buyout but hadn't been able to have a "meaningful dialogue," so it took the offer directly to the company's shareholders. Certicom said the bid was too low and asked its shareholders to reject it. The company also asked the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to block the offer, saying RIM had breached nondisclosure agreements in preparing it. The court agreed with Certicom.

Subsequently, Certicom accepted a C$1.67 buyout offer from VeriSign in January. But on Feb. 3, RIM upped its bid to C$3 per share in cash. Certicom paid a C$4 million termination fee to VeriSign and accepted the new offer.

RIM is based in Waterloo, Ontario, and Certicom in nearby Mississauga. Certicom specializes in elliptic curve encryption software, which RIM already uses in its BlackBerry system. Owning the company could save RIM money or help it integrate the technology more deeply in its products and drive future development. The elliptic curve technology meets the standards of the U.S. National Security Agency, which could help RIM sell BlackBerry devices in some government accounts.

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