IBM has approached Research In Motion about acquiring the struggling smartphone maker's enterprise services unit, according to a report from Bloomberg.
According to the report, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the talks, IBM made an informal inquiry to RIM about a potential deal, but only for the enterprise services business unit and not for the entire company. The report cited Berenberg Bank analysts who valued the unit at between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion.
RIM has been at the center of acquisition rumors lately as the company's smartphone market share has declined and the BlackBerry has been eclipsed by Apple's iPhone and a bevy of Google Android devices. In May, RIM announced it had hired J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help it review financial options, including potentially selling the business and splitting the company in two.
A number of suitors has been named in recent reports, such as Amazon and Facebook. After being cited in a Jefferies analyst report as a potential buyer for RIM, Samsung publicly announced it was not considering acquiring the smartphone maker.
RIM has struggled to reverse its declining revenue and market share despite a leadership change. In January, the company tapped Thorsten Heins to replace former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, but RIM has suffered delays for its BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will breathe new life into the BlackBerry smartphone and help RIM better compete with Apple and Google.
As the world's largest solution provider, IBM could add RIM's enterprise services business to its market-leading IBM global services division, giving Big Blue's services business a boost in the smartphone and mobile device markets.
Published Aug. 13, 2012