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Carl Icahn Stake-Building Rumors Push Stock in BlackBerry Maker Up Sharply

Carl Icahn
Rick Maiman/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Canadian smartphone giant was the subject of market speculation Tuesday over a possible unsolicited overture from the activist shareholder.

TORONTO -- Having finished dining out on Lionsgate, Carl Icahn is rumored to be sharpening his knife for another Canadian media giant, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd.

Reuters on Tuesday pointed to market speculation that an activist investor was picking up stock in Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, and forcing up its shares by 5% to $23.50 by noontime on the NASDAQ Exchange.

"Traders are saying Icahn has taken a stake, but nothing is confirmed,’ BGC Partners tech analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky, in a note to investors on Tuesday, said the unconfirmed stake-building by Icahn will likely be followed by a push for a seat in the RIM boardroom and a call for a change of direction by BlackBerry co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

RIM has been hard-pressed of late to compete with its smartphone offering against market leader iPhone, and has also disappointed with its recently-unveiled BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

And Balsillie and Lazardis need only look to Vancouver-based Lionsgate Entertainment for a lesson in how to deal with Icahn, who is cashing out of the mini-major, but only after a knock-down proxy fight.