* RIM raises bid to C$3 a share in cash
* Trumps VeriSign's offer of C$2.10
* VeriSign has Feb 11 deadline to make new bid
(New throughout. Changes dateline, previous TORONTO)
By Susan Taylor
OTTAWA, Feb 5 Security software maker Certicom
Corp (CIC.TO) said on Thursday that BlackBerry maker Research
In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O had tendered a superior bid to
VeriSign Inc (VRSN.O), the latest move in a takeover
RIM's second sweeter cash offer of C$3 a share values the
cryptography company at about C$131 million ($106.5 million)
and significantly trumps VeriSign's C$2.10 per share bid. It
also doubles RIM's initial hostile offer, made in December.
Internet security provider VeriSign has until Feb. 11 to
submit an amended offer under its arrangement with Certicom,
whose technology has been adopted by the U.S. National Security
Agency for government communications.
A counter-bid from VeriSign is unlikely, said Blackmont
Capital analyst Lawrence Rhee, because RIM's richer offer shows
its commitment to acquire Certicom.
"They could notch it up higher, but I just think VeriSign
thinks that RIM will come and outbid it again. So why go
through that process," Rhee said.
"I think they're both motivated to try and purchase this
asset, it's just I think RIM has proven that they want it
Shares in Certicom rose nearly 1.6 percent in early trade
on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday to C$3.21, suggesting
that some investors believe a richer offer could come.
VeriSign will receive a C$4 million termination fee if
Certicom does not accept its bid.
Late last month, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM dropped its
initial C$1.50 a share offer after Certicom got a court
injunction blocking the bid. Certicom alleged RIM had violated
nondisclosure agreements by using confidential information for
It marked a sour point in a long-standing relationship
between the two companies. Certicom's technology is of key
importance to RIM's security platform, Rhee said.
"One of RIM's competitive advantages since inception has
been the strength of their security. That's why many
governments, especially the U.S. government, use BlackBerrys.
Because BlackBerrys have never been compromised," the analyst
said in an interview.
"I wouldn't say it's all Certicom's technology that
explains the strength of the security around RIM. I think it's
a key component."
Certicom licenses its elliptic curve cryptography
technology to a range of software vendors and device
manufacturers including General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), Motorola
Inc MOT.N and Oracle Corp ORCL.O.
"I think what RIM wants is to be able to ensure continued
development of ECC going forward. If its gets into a
competitor's hands ... then maybe RIM would be worried," Rhee
Certicom's announcement comes ahead of an Ontario regulatory
hearing on Thursday that could see a final settlement with
RIM's top executives over their role in a controversy over the
backdating of stock options.
(Additional reporting by Scott Anderson in Toronto, editing by