Has Microsoft got its eye on BlackBerry?
By Barry Collins
Posted on 10 Oct 2008 at 14:48
Microsoft could be preparing a bid for BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion, according to analysts.
RIM's shares have practically fallen off a cliff in recent months, plunging from a 52-week high of $150 to today's price of around $68.
With the credit crunch likely to slow corporate IT spending, RIM could become even more vulnerable if the financial crisis doesn't dissipate quickly.
That leaves the company vulnerable to a takeover from a cash-rich suitor such as Microsoft, according to analysts. "RIM is a massive strategic fit [for Microsoft]," claims Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek, in an interview with Reuters. "I'm fairly certain they have a standing offer to buy them at $50 [a share]."
Microsoft has around $23 billion of cash on its balance sheet, with RIM currently valued at around $34 billion.
"If you did a stock and cash deal, you wouldn't need to tap the credit markets," Mark McQueen, chief executive of Wellington Financial LP in Toronto told Reuters.
"The people I've talked to who deal with institutional investors every day say they would look at this as a gift," McQueen adds. "In this particular climate, you have to part with your loved ones sometimes."
The acquisition of BlackBerry could provide a massive boost to Microsoft's mobile portfolio, with Windows Mobile looking increasingly outdated compared to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android.
RIM this week officially confirmed the first touchscreen BlackBerry will arrive this autumn, in a bid to further drive the brand into the consumer market.
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