NEW YORK - Shares of Research In Motion Ltd., the struggling maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, rose 4.5 percent yesterday on speculation that activist investor Carl Icahn is buying a stake in the Ontario company.
“This is a typical Carl Icahn scenario to come in and change,’’ said Sameet Kanade, an analyst at Northern Securities Inc. in Toronto. “If he did this though, it would have to be on a hostile basis, given that the two co-CEOs own 11 percent of the stock.’’
RIM has plunged 61 percent this year amid slumping demand and disappointing earnings. Stung by customer defections to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and to handsets that run on Google Inc.’s Android platform, RIM’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 12 percent last quarter from 19 percent a year earlier, Gartner Inc. says.
RIM’s shares gained 97 cents to $22.65 yesterday.
Icahn built his reputation as a corporate raider in the 1980s, targeting companies such as Phillips Petroleum Co. and Trans World Airlines Inc. He more recently sparred with management at Motorola Inc. and Clorox Co.
“If he has taken a position, he may likely push for a board seat and compel the company to peruse value-creating strategies such as a sale of the company,’’ Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, said in a research note.
RIM holds more than 2,000 patents, pertaining to everything from mobile security to e-mail.