RIM Will Die an Old Maid


Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) is moving higher today, as dueling reports find the BlackBerry maker at the center of amorous attention.

Reuters is reporting that Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) brought in an investment banker this summer for exploratory talks on a RIM buyout. Sources are also telling The Wall Street Journal that a hungry Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) and a fretful Nokia (NYS: NOK) have had informal takeover talks.

Amazon's interest apparently diminished shortly after it started, without a formal offer being made. There's no update on where Microsoft and Nokia stand on a joint acquisition of the beleaguered RIM.

Let me save you the speculation, suspense, and aggravation. A deal isn't happening. RIM will die alone, leaving behind a dozen cats and even more regrets of the ones that got away.

I'm not trying to be mean. RIM is too proud to settle for settling down. The Reuters' source claims the Canadian smartphone pioneer has been telling interested parties that it doesn't want to entertain an acquisition. RIM also isn't exploring economic joint ventures -- along the lines of what Microsoft squared away with Nokia earlier this year -- or entertaining the sale of individual components including its patent portfolio or handset business.

Now we find RIM trading at an eight-year low -- off by a whopping 78% this year alone as of last night's close -- and it's the one being choosy.


Quite frankly, the rumored interest itself is surprising. Analysts see revenue and earnings falling this fiscal year, only to decline again in fiscal 2013. Why buy RIM now when it will only get cheaper down the line?

The bullish argument for RIM -- and it's no doubt what's clouding the company's judgment -- is that the stock has declined at a headier clip than its fundamentals. Obviously RIM isn't 78% less of a company than it was when the year began. It closed out its latest quarter with a record 75 million BlackBerry users!

Unfortunately, it's seeing things through BlackBerry goggles. Buying a smartphone platform -- at any price -- hasn't historically been a good decision. Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) no doubt wishes it could turn back the clock on its Palm acquisition.

If companies are brave or stupid enough to consider buyout offers or single out prized assets, then who is RIM to be the greedy one?

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At the time thisarticle was published Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for HP. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Microsoft.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft and Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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