RIM investor Watsa doubles stake

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 Monday.

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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