Is Openwave in Play? by Mark Veverka
Summary: Openwave Systems Inc. (OPWV), which makes mobile communications software, is an investment favorite of such big-hitters as Harbinger Capital (11%), Fidelity Management (14%) and activist investor Carl Icahn. But while they seem to love the company, they don't like its management, including CEO David Peterschmidt. Harbinger tried unsuccessfully to replace two board members with its own in January, and has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of unfair corporate governance. Investors say management has failed to build out potential relationships with telecom carriers and phone makers. Openwave also sells 'well-received' digital music software, and recently released 'game changing' software that lets wireless carriers track mobile internet searches. Michael Goldman of Abbot Capital Partners (which has a less-than 1% stake) says Openwave's a "gem" assuming the move to oust management succeeds, and sees it worth $12-14 in a buyout (vs. a current $8.50) based on two-times 2008 sales; he says the company has previously refused richer offers of up to 4x sales from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK). Rumors last week included that its board met to discuss a sale, and that it may settle with Harbinger. Barron's: Stay on the line.