Unwired Planet Inc. (UPIP), the patent licensing company run by CEO Boris Teksler, said it seeking permission from shareholders for a 1 for 20 reverse stock split and reduction in its shares outstanding from 1 billion shares to 250 million.
The reverse-split and share reduction are board proposals disclosed today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shares of Unwired Planet gained 3 cents to 88 cents today in trading. They have traded between 54 cents and $1.65 over the past year.
They are among several proposals to be voted on at Unwired Planet’s up-coming annual meeting scheduled for Friday Dec. 4 at the offices of the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Los Angeles.
Reno, Nevada-based Unwired Planet’s shareholders also will be asked to elect six directors who are Teksler, Chairman Philip Vachon, Richard Chernicoff, Peter Reed, of Mast Capital LLC, Taylor Harmeling and Jess Ravich.
In a bet that Teksler can turn things around, Boston-based Mast Capital has amassed an 18.8% stake in Unwired Planet from buying the stakes of Starboard Value and Indaba Capital Management.
Harmeling and Ravich were nominated at Mast Capital’s request. Harmeling is a portfolio manager and founder of General Management Holdings LLC, a Burlington, Vermont-based investment firm, and Ravich is the executive chairman and senior executive officer of ALJ Holdings.
Teksler has pledged to return Unwired Planet to profitability after its acquisition of a portfolio of 2,150 patents from Ericsson AB left it with a profit sharing arrangement and expense structure that made it all but impossible to make money from licensing its patents.
Teksler has said the worst of the expense structure is behind the company and that he hopes to have greater success by negotiating with infringers rather than filing suits. He also has indicated that recent patent reforms and court decisions have made bringing cases in the U.S. more challenging. As a result, he has said Unwired Planet sees more opportunities in the immediate future in Europe where validity and infringement are handled more efficiently in separate courts.
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