December 20, 2011 6:30pm
Whew, what a day! Only minutes after learning that WIND is in merger talks with Mobilicity, Reuters drops this bombshell.
According to two trusted sources inside a Wall Street investment banking firm, Amazon was in talks to acquire RIM earlier in the year. While they did not make a formal offer to the besieged Waterloo entity, as their fortunes worsened the prospects of a takeover got better. Amazon.com Inc. just released its Kindle Fire tablet based on the BlackBerry Playbook design, and was in talks last year to bring its extensive MP3 library to certain BlackBerry devices.
It turns out that the buyout was rebuffed by RIM’s entrenched management, who seem to be satisfied with the company’s internal assets such as BlackBerry Messenger, its extensive device offering and worldwide enterprise infrastructure. RIM’s Board of Directors sees any buyout talks as a distraction from what is likely to be a long and hard battle to rebuild the company, which has lost nearly 80% of its market share in 2011.
After RIM’s disappointing quarterly earnings last week, its shares have fallen to their lowest number since 2004 and are sitting at $13.27 on the Toronto Stock Exchange (up some $0.75 after hours, likely due to this news).
Apparently investment bankers sought Samsung and HTC as other potential buyers but the companies weren’t interested, citing existing relationships with Google and Microsoft. Some analysts have called for a sell-off of RIM’s existing patent portfolio, and have encouraged co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to split the company into two halves, one focusing on consumer goods like its BlackBerry smartphone line and another catering more to B2B enterprise solutions.
What may up being RIM’s most challenging year yet will continue into 2012 as it gears up to release Version 2.0 for the Playbook and its first BlackBerry 10 device.