After more than a year of disappointing sales numbers, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is considering all its options as it struggles to compete with the iPhone and Android smartphones. Now, a rapper-turned-marketing entrepreneur is offering the company a -- well, let’s say, a unique way out.
Nono C. Pearson, rapper handle Big Reality, has offered to buy the company outright, offering RIM shareholders a stock swap that would see them get shares of Pearson’s company, United Vision Marketing Firms (UVMF), ahead of the company’s initial public offering.
It may sound like a joke, but Pearson appears to be entirely sincere about the offer.
“The decision was made to acquire RIM after a strategy session with UVMF's board members and consultants and the announcement by RIM's new CEO of a possible sell of the company,” UVMF said in a press release last week. “The proposed deal is an all stock swap deal that will position RIM shareholders to be in a greater equity position by swapping for UVMF's IPO stock price.”
UVMF explained that the deal “will help the development of UVMF'S $1.6 billion proposed Pearson Education Tablet (PET), take UVMF public and develop a new brand imaging campaign for BlackBerry Products using UVMF's entertainment ties.”
Those entertainment ties have to do with Pearson’s attempt at carving out a unique niche for himself in the marketing world, branding himself as the owner of “corporate hip-hop” -- an attempt to fuse rapping with marketing.
To that end, Pearson’s company has offered one million shares of UVMF to the rapper who writes “the best verse of what the UVMF family calls ‘corporate hip-hop.”
The idea, the company says in a statement, is “about making legitimate corporate moves with a street swag delivery.” The company has reportedly reached out to 50 Cent as a potential contender. No word yet from the rapper as to whether he wants to become the face of “corporate hip hop.”
According to DailyTech.com, among UVMF’s board members is Real Freeway Ricky Ross, a notorious drug dealer who made an estimated $600-million fortune before being busted in a sting in 1996 trying to buy a kilo of cocaine from an undercover federal agent.
Ross “is rumored to have retained much of his fortune,” DailyTech reports.
No word yet on whether RIM will accept the offer, but we’re not holding our breath.