RIM to sell corporate jet in $1bn saving bid

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If you find yourself in financial trouble, it’s usually a good idea to cut back on one or two frivolous luxuries. A corporate jet or two, for instance.

Beleaguered BlackBerry manufacturer is doing just that as it looks to save one-billion dollars. The company is putting its nine-passenger Dassault Aviation SA F50EX up for sale and hopes to raise US$6-7-million.

The sale is probably more of a goodwill gesture than anything. After all, it wouldn’t look good for a company to have two corporate jets when it’s getting ready to fire 5 000 employees.

Don’t feel too bad for the RIM executives though, they’ll still have the company’s other jet (a 14-seater) to see them through.

The news comes as RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and former CEO Mike Lazaridis were re-elected to the company’s board at a shareholders meeting today.

There was however clearly dissent in the ranks as investors held back 19.1% of votes for Lazaridis and 14.8% for Heins.

According to Slashgear, the big thorn in RIM’s side is Jaguar Investments which wants the company to license or sell off its portfolio of patents for a little while now.

“Is it the board’s intent through your leadership as chair to aggressively seek technology-experienced board members,” Jaguar CEO Vic Albioni asked the assembled meeting, “that would bolster the strength of this board?”

Selling off its patents now would more than likely be an irrevocably short-term solution for RIM. As my colleague Martin Carstens notes, Heins seems to have taken the long view, focussing on what BlackBerry has and what it’s good at.

It might not mean profit now, but make no mistake, even in leaner, meaner form RIM could still be a force to be reckoned with.

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