Research In Motion is currently weighing every single option it can think of in an effort to reverse a negative trend that is approaching a boiling point for investors. Reports that RIM is currently in talks to license its software to other vendors are accurate according to our trusted sources, though we have been told that RIM is most likely leaning toward an outright sale of one or more divisions, or even the whole company. The front runner, we have been told by a trusted source with knowledge of the situation, is Samsung, which might be interested in RIM for a number of reasons.
One of the biggest assets RIM has is BlackBerry Messenger, and it would be a smart way for Samsung to differentiate itself inside the Android ecosystem. HTC has its Sense suite and it recently bought into Beats by Dr. Dre. Samsung could buy RIM, or a part of the company, and integrate not only BBM but also several other enterprise features into Android to make its devices an even bigger threat to competitors. This could also help Samsung better differentiate itself on the software and OS level, pulling more control into its hands and away from Google.
We have heard that Jim Balsillie is actively meeting with almost every company that might be interested in either a part or all of RIM, in addition to having talks about licensing. “Jim is going hard after Samsung,” said a source with knowledge of the negotiations. One of the reasons no deal has been struck, however, is that RIM’s co-CEOs are asking for way too much.
We have heard the company is looking for more than $10 billion for a full sale, likely somewhere in the $12 billion to $15 billion range, or between approximately $22.90 and $28.60 per share. RIM’s market capitalization currently sits at about $8.5 billion, though several analysts think that even $8.5 billion is more than an interested party would consider bidding at the moment.
Samsung declined to comment and a spokesperson for RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s certainly an interesting time at Research In Motion, and we’ll have much more on RIM in the coming days.
UPDATE: In a statement provided to Reuters Wednesday evening, a Samsung spokesman said the company is not interested in an outright purchase of Research In Motion. The spokesman did not address reports that Samsung is considering licensing RIM’s software, however, or purchasing a portion of RIM’s assets.