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Blackberry Canada Cellphones Handhelds The Almighty Buck

RIM Co-Founder Drops His Stock 114

Posted by timothy
from the writing-is-in-spraypaint dept.
drdread66 writes "Reuters reports today that Research In Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie dumped his entire stake in BlackBerry at the end of 2012. While it's common to see high-level executives sell some of their shares to gain some liquidity, it's unusual to see them exit their positions completely. This has to be seen as a massive vote of 'no confidence' from someone who was on the inside long enough to know what's going on in the company."
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RIM Co-Founder Drops His Stock

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  • When one of the founders bails you know the ship is sinking.

    • by Lisias (447563) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:14PM (#42901213) Homepage Journal

      Or you know that someone with deep pockets paid him to do so, lowering the prices and rendering the company vulnerable to a Hostile Takeover.

      Do you know Siemens VDO, I mean, Continental A/G, I mean, Schaeffler Group? :-)

      • by alen (225700)

        Why would anyone buy rim?

      • Or you know that someone with deep pockets paid him to do so, lowering the prices and rendering the company vulnerable to a Hostile Takeover.

        Do you know Siemens VDO, I mean, Continental A/G, I mean, Schaeffler Group? :-)

        So if this is intended to sink the stock it looks like it failed.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Looks like they lost 30% in one day back in December. Maybe that's when he dumped.

          It's been up-hill since then... maybe on (persistent) rumors of buyout. By the time you read about anything, anywhere, it's past the real market relevance. You're trading in fall-out land.

          By the time you read about it on Slashdot, it's a billion years past any market relevance.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            By the time you read about it on Slashdot, it's a billion years past any market relevance.

            Shock news, slashdot isn't a real time source of insider info for all the armchair stock jockeys who've doubled their money by buying Apple a decade ago and think they're Gordon Gecko.

        • by Lisias (447563)

          So if this is intended to sink the stock it looks like it failed.

          Or the Takeover already started.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        More likely a margin call. If he borrowed against his sinking stock portfolio, at some point he would be forced to liquidate it to satisfy the terms of the loan.

        • by Lisias (447563)

          More likely a margin call. If he borrowed against his sinking stock portfolio, at some point he would be forced to liquidate it to satisfy the terms of the loan.

          Makes sense [wikipedia.org]!

      • by Pyrus.mg (1152215)

        Don't dismiss the fact that he's a Canadian who want's to own a NHL franchise. Maybe he just needs the cash to pay off some bad feelings the current owners and NHL have toward him.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:20PM (#42901289)

      As a resident of Waterloo Ontario, I think Jim burned a lot of cash in philanthropy at the University of Waterloo. He might actually need the cash.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:29PM (#42901431) Homepage

      When one of the founders bails you know the ship is sinking.

      That's what he hopes people will think.

      a) Everybody dumps their shares, share price plummets
      b) He buys back his shares, dirt cheap.
      c) RIM makes Apple-killing product announcement
      d) Profit!!

    • by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:30PM (#42901455)

      Except that (in spite of what the summary implies) he is no longer with the company.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:53PM (#42901843)

      He's not breaking up with RIM. He just thought that he and RIM should take a break and maybe not move so fast, you know. He still loves RIM and all, he's just not *IN* love with RIM. And that other company is just a friend.

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      If he's left the company why shouldn't he cash out his shares?

      You have an awfully romantic view about business leaders if you think they let sentiment about being a "founder" get in the way of making money. It probably turned out that from a tax planning point of view, that was the right thing to do at the right time.

      If he was still an employee, fair enough, he'd have to tow the party line.

      • I don't think anyone has a problem with him cashing out his shares. He was a founder, he's entitled to do what he wants with his shares. It's just a little alarming - at least to me - to see someone completely divest themselves from a company they helped found so quickly. Particularly since it's right when Blackberry is at a very crucial point. It sends a message that he has lot faith in the company. Some investors might be left to wonder if he knows something they don't.

  • Hockey Team (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:11PM (#42901155)

    Or it's probably because he needs cash to buy an NHL team to move to Hamilton.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:15PM (#42901217)

    If his judgement is so good about the mobile phone industry, how did he take the undisputed industry leader and run it off the road?

    Perhaps he thinks the new models are missing the navigation wheel and the color screen is distracting.

    • If his judgement is so good about the mobile phone industry, how did he take the undisputed industry leader and run it off the road?

      Perhaps he thinks the new models are missing the navigation wheel and the color screen is distracting.

      Exactly this. This person has largely run the company into the ground. If he's sold off his stock - and his influence on the Board... well, as a stockholder I'm celebrating.

      (As were many others. Stock closed up 7% today on the news.)

  • by linuxtelephony (141049) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:15PM (#42901219) Homepage

    Wasn't he ousted earlier? Might this be a case of sour grapes and a way to get back and give RIM, I mean Blackberry, a bit of a black eye?

    • Bad decisions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dr. Evil (3501) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:19PM (#42901281)

      A decade of being in the right place at the right time only keeps your bad decisions in check for so long. Eventually somebody comes along and makes good decisions.

      Although I don't have much hope for RIM, I think any decisions this guy makes are as irrelevant as his decisions in his last years at the company.

    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:40PM (#42901611) Homepage Journal
      Or he just wanted a few hundred million dollars. Pretty much, as far as I can tell, the guy is not connected to the company anymore. He evidently put a couple hundred thousand dollars int he company way back when, ran the company for a while, and that is about it. All that can be said is he does not think RIM is as good as an investment as some other companies. And not really that since we don't know if he is just needs money.
    • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @06:35PM (#42902435)

      Might this be a case of sour grapes and a way to get back and give RIM, I mean Blackberry, a bit of a black eye?

      Actually, if the headline had been been written like this:

      "Recently Ousted RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie Sells all his RIM Stocks Today"

      ...there would have been no black eye or misunderstanding to begin with. And its following paragraph would have been immediately seen for the click-baiting fabricated lie that it really is: "While it's common to see high-level executives sell some of their shares to gain some liquidity, it's unusual to see them exit their positions completely. This has to be seen as a massive vote of 'no confidence' from someone who was on the inside long enough to know what's going on in the company. " - emphasis in bold mine.

      PS: And please, don't take this to mean that I'm some Blackberry fanboy. I'm not. I personally don't have confidence in that company either. It's just that I hate to see the "news" purposefully misinterpreted in this way.

      • by slew (2918)

        I may be recalling this incorrectly, but I think Steve Jobs did something like sell all his shares when he got kicked out of Apple...

        • by Gruturo (141223)

          I may be recalling this incorrectly, but I think Steve Jobs did something like sell all his shares when he got kicked out of Apple...

          Minus one. So he'd keep receiving quarterly reports and balances.

          And with that money he rescued/acquired Pixar and founded NeXT, not bad.

    • by Fyzzler (1058716)
      Wasn't he ousted earlier? Might this be a case of sour grapes and a way to get back and give RIM, I mean Blackberry, a bit of a Raspberry?

      FTFY
  • I see it as plus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I see a founder who has had a huge strop that basically while he was at the help the company was loosing out to the rising smartphone market around it. He got sidelined and selling his stock was a final "throwing my toys out of a the pram' act. Ive seen it before, albeit in smaller startup environments. I see that Blackberry now at least has a viable modern product... and is attempting to find a direction. during then end of his tenure it was lost... Nothing more than an angry failed executive here...

    • sorry but if he knows the company is not headed for better times, why should he hold onto stock that is just sitting there being devalued? But somehow if he's smart and sells it knowing it won't get better, he's somehow all angsty and trying to get back at management?

  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:20PM (#42901283) Homepage

    Perhaps this is a good thing. The whole co-CEO business may look good, but there's a reason there aren't more co-leadership (or triumvirate) roles in leading companies (even GOOG ditched the triumvirate idea and shifted to a front-man+visionary model). This isn't a buddy cop movie where everything is scripted. CEOs of organizations in heavily competing markets actually do things.

  • Shitty journalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acoustix (123925) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:25PM (#42901379) Homepage

    He's no longer with the company. He was part of the train wreck co-CEO management that refused to change. I see this nothing but good that he has nothing to do with the company now.

    Of course the media wants to tear down a non Apple company. They are well on their way.

    • by fermat1313 (927331) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:33PM (#42901489)

      Shitty Journalism

      Of course the media wants to tear down a non Apple company. They are well on their way.

      What exactly are you smoking? What part of this story is shitty journalism or "tearing down a company". The founder and former CEO of an important tech company dumps all of his stock at once, which is a pretty unusual event. It's definitely reportable, as is the impact it had on the company. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the other players in the industry weren't even mentioned.

      So clearly this isn't shitty journalism. In fact, someone *not* reporting on this would be really shitty journalism. So what, exactly, is your problem with the new story?

  • Diversification. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dzimas (547818) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:31PM (#42901465)
    Balsillie left the company in 2011. He has no up-to-date insider knowledge or connections with the current management team and it makes some sense for him to have sold his stock (approximately $300 million) to diversify his portfolio. I wish we could bury this sensational but meaningless story from the front page.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Balsillie left the company in 2011. He has no up-to-date insider knowledge or connections with the current management team

      Yes, because Lord knows that when a founder leaves a company they lose *all* contact with their former colleagues and employees, even those who are friends.

      Yep, every time I left a job I lost all access to insider information from within the corporate walls. There's no way I heard about what was going on from my friends/erstwhile co-workers. I mean, the very notion is preposterous!

      It's outright *absurd* for anyone to believe this cofounder / former CEO would know *anything* more than the general public hear

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        At that level, you don't really have "friends" in companies that have got rid of you. I don't imagine anyone working at RIM/Blackberry would risk any contact with him at all. I certainly wouldn't in their shoes.
  • I used to his Elan (I think it was an Elan) in the car-park at Waterloo.
  • RIM stock had a nice run-up late last year.

    That plus the fact that this company is on the downslope makes it pretty obvious that he made a wise financial decision.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:37PM (#42901555) Homepage Journal

    Hey, give the guy a break - those high-class hookers are expensive!

    • by mdielmann (514750)

      Hey, give the guy a break - those high-class hookers are expensive!

      If you think hookers are expensive, try getting married [people.com]!

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Hey, give the guy a break - those high-class hookers are expensive!

      If you've got three hundred million dollars, I seriously doubt that paying for hookers is a problem. You can take this in either of two ways, I leave the conclusion as an exercise for the reader.

  • Remember Jobs did the same when he left Apple and started NeXT. Maybe he has a new startup doing Blackberry like products better than Blackberry.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @05:46PM (#42901699)

    And accidentally hit the 'Dump' button when he meant to hit the 'Buy' button.

  • The then CEO of Vmware Paul Maritz dumped $60,000,000 USD of shares in 3 trading days in mid-November 2012 leaving only just over 38k shares -- VMware shares have recently took a beating. Insider knowledge?

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @06:52PM (#42902797)
    Oh, that's the way to gain confidence. "We just released version 10 and it's going to turn this company around...but, I'm jumping the hell off this ship! Good luck, everyone!"
    • by OdinOdin_ (266277)

      http://www.thestar.com/business/2012/03/30/jim_balsillie_resigns_from_rim_board.html [thestar.com]
      > Jim Balsillie stepped down from the Research in Motion board of directors on March 2.

      Looks like he was pushed out already and now BlackBerry do seem to have a new OS, new model based on numerous modern mobile programming models.

      I never bought a BB before but having been a happy Nokia customer for over 12 years, I shall be registering my vote of no confidence in WinPhone8 by selecting a different brand for my contract re

  • The most interesting part of this story is that no one cares
  • From the Summary: This has to be seen as a massive vote of 'no confidence' from someone who was on the inside long enough to know what's going on in the company."

    The guy who was desperately trying to buy an NHL franchise while Blackberry were spinning its wheels in the face of Android and iPhone? Yeah, that guy knew what was going on all right.

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