published Monday, July 23rd, 2012

RIM investor Watsa doubles stake

  • photo
    In this Thursday June 21, 2012, file photo, Tim Neil, Research In Motion Ltd.'s Canadian Operating Director of Operations, Platforms and Tools, speaks about the Blackberry 10 architecture during the RIM Blackberry 10 Jam World Tour in Toronto. Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. revealed Thursday, June 28, 2012, that its business is crumbling faster than thought. The Canadian company posted worse results for its latest quarter than analysts had expected. It's cutting 5,000 jobs and delaying the launch of its new phone operating system, BlackBerry 10, on which it's pinning its hope for a comeback (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)
    Photo by Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Prem Watsa, one of Canada's best-known value investors, has nearly doubled his stake in BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. to 9.9 percent, according to a regulatory filing today.

The increase makes him the largest shareholder in the struggling company and identifies a buyer for shares that other investors have been unloading.

RIM shares rose 1 cent to $6.78 in midday trading Monday. The shares have lost 95 percent of their value since 2008 as BlackBerry sales have lost out to the iPhone and Android phones.

RIM's market capitalization is now $3.6 billion. Analysts have figured that the company's patent holdings, and the value of the monthly subscription fees that it gets from servicing existing BlackBerrys, are worth more than that to a buyer.

Watsa told the Associated Press in April that he believes RIM can turn itself around, but that it might take three to five years to do so. He's the founder of insurance company Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and has a seat on RIM's board.

In January, Watsa reported owning 5.1 percent of RIM, making him the third-largest investor. That was up from 2.2 percent in September.

The increase to 9.9 percent vaulted his holdings past those of investment management company Primecap and RIM founder and former co-CEO Michael Lazaridis.

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