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Not quite everything’s out in the open…

images7.jpgSoftware provider Openwave Systems (OPWV) has a bunch o’ problems. Shares of the company plummeted as much as 17% on Tuesday after the company revealed that it was unable to find a suitable buyer and that it was rejecting a major shareholder’s discounted tender offer.

Instead, Openwave’s Board of Directors ‘directed management to focus its energies on implementation of the company’s stand-alone plan.” Indeed, management will be standing much more alone after it implements a planned 20% reduction in workforce.

In all the fallout surrounding Openwave’s storm of bad news, however, one piece of debris buried in this late afternoon filing caught our eye. It’s the severance agreement for outgoing CEO David Peterschmidt ‘— which wasn’t mentioned in Openwave’s lengthy ‘strategic update’_ press release issued the same day. For his three-year tenure as CEO, Peterschmidt will be receiving a lump-sum payout of $1.5 million and full vesting of his 175,000 shares of restricted stock ‘— also worth about $1.5 million.

To be fair, the size of Peterschmidt’s golden goodbye isn’t particularly outrageous when compared to others we’ve seen. But waiting nearly two months to file the details of the severance package ‘— and then burying it underneath a tsunami of bad news – isn’t exactly the kind of practice that convinces shareholders that Openwave can make it on its own.