Samsung: No, We Aren't Buying RIM


Samsung has shot down rumors that it is mulling an acquisition of Research In Motion or planning to license the smartphone maker's upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system.

"Samsung Electronics has not considered the acquisition of Research in Motion or licensing BB10," the company said Thursday in an emailed statement to CRN.

Rumors of a Samsung-RIM acquisition emerged Wednesday after Jefferies analyst Peter Misek speculated in a note to clients that RIM was trying to spark discussions about a BlackBerry 10 licensing deal with the Korean tech giant.

[Related: RIM Tries Tablet Market Again, Launches New 4G PlayBook]

"Given recent management comments in the press, it now appears that RIM is realizing what Wall Street has been saying for some time: they are a subscale manufacturer and desperately need a partner," Misek wrote, according to a report from All Things Digital. "We believe RIM is attempting to revive discussions with Samsung regarding a BB10 licensing deal."

Misek also speculated that Samsung is considering a complete RIM buy-out, most likely closing the deal before the launch of BlackBerry 10 in early 2013. He said Samsung could benefit from the acquisition by tapping into RIM’s worldwide subscriber base, which RIM said in June still accounts for nearly 78 million users. It would also let Samsung reduce its reliance on Google’s Android OS, Misek said.

RIM shares jumped more than five percent Wednesday in light of the Samsung reports.

While Samsung has counted itself out as a potential RIM suitor, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has said he is willing to explore all strategic options for putting the struggling BlackBerry maker back on its feet, including a sale of the company.

"If there is any element we detect during the strategic review, we would consider it [selling the company], but it’s not the main direction we are pursuing right now," Heins said in March during RIM's fourth-quarter earnings call with investors.

Heins also recently told The Telegraph that licensing RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS may be a good move financially for the company.

"We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year," Heins said. "We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There’s different options we could do that we’re currently investigating."

Other companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, have been rumored as potential RIM buyers.

PUBLISHED AUG. 9, 2012