RIM has been discussed as potential acquisition bait now for years, yet no one has stepped up to take the full plunge. Could that change this year?

Well, the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry appears to be taking steps down that path, with Reuters reporting that it has hired investment banking firm Goldman Sachs to handle incoming bids. Shares of RIM jumped more than four percent on the news earlier this week, but the stock is still down 73 percent in the past 12 months.

There’s certainly no shortage of potential buyers — especially with the company’s market value now hovering around $8 billion. The list was highlighted Thursday during Corum Group’s 2012 Global Tech M&A Forecast, with Corum’s Peter Andrews offering some possibilities.

“RIM should be acquired by, perhaps, Microsoft—or Amazon, Verizon, Sprint, Samsung, LG, SK Telecom or private equity,” Andrews said. “There’s no shortage of potential buyers, but a deal will be contingent on Canadian government approval. That may not be so easy given what just happened to the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.”

Rumors have circulated in the past that both Amazon.com and Microsoft considered buying RIM.

Amazon.com is a bit of a head-scratcher, but Microsoft (which needs help regaining its mojo in mobile) has been discussed frequently as a possible buyer. In fact, on three occasions in recent years at the WTIA Predictions Dinner venture capitalists have predicted a Microsoft buyout of RIM.

This year, it was RealNetworks Chairman and Accel Partners venture partner Rob Glaser  who floated the idea.

Here’s what Glaser said:

“A buyer and a seller have to agree on a price, so to say they should is not to say they will. But RIM has a tremendous amount of loyalty in the corporate enterprise market, and their consumer fall-off has been very severe…. They don’t in my opinion have a good OS strategy…. In terms of single moves available, that would be the best available move. You’d have the question of how you avoided freaking out the other handset guys, but just that base of support that they have in the enterprise, from messaging, which given Exchange is a very strong base to build on…. The kind of deals that Microsoft likes doing are kind of hollow-out deals, with Yahoo in search or Nokia in phones. Those are much more cash efficient. But, if you can’t do a hollow-out deal with RIM, they are getting cheap enough that even Steve (Ballmer) might take a look at it.”

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Comments

  • Sean Bell

    I think AMZN may be less of a head scratcher than you’d think. Given that the BES is coming out with support for Android devices, it would be interesting to consider AMZN hosting BES on AWS as a secure messaging service that companies could “rent out” and allow their employees to use their own devices. It might fit as part of AWS providing a utility layer for companies looking to rent, rather than own, their own infrastructure. 

  • http://twitter.com/chuckgoolsbee chuck goolsbee

    Once the Titanic hit that iceberg its desirability as a viable business went straight down.

  • Bizdev

    You buy a company based on potential.  What is the potential of RIM?  That you get to upgrade the existing customer base?  You don’t need to buy RIM to have the chance to convert the clients.

    RIM isn’t worth buying at any price.  They have too much baggage and no potential.  See Palm.

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