IBM Interested in Research In Motion's Enterprise Services Unit
Information technology giant International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) is apparently interested in buying wireless solutions designer and manufacturer Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) enterprise services unit.
According to Bloomberg, Research In Motion's enterprise services unit operates a network of secure servers that are used to support the company's BlackBerry devices. The move would point to some fascinating diversification for IBM.
At the time of writing, IBM has made an informal approach, but that is expected to firm up very soon.
If IBM does end up offering serious money, August could turn out to be a very profitable month for Research In Motion. Benzinga reported on Thursday that the presiding judge over its patent infringement trial with Mformation Technologies overturned the jury's verdict, saving Research In Motion over $140 million. The judge granted Research In Motion's submission and concluded that the evidence did not support the jury's verdict.
The judge vacated the $147.2 million jury award, ruling that Research In Motion did not infringe on Mformation's patents. Mformation's only recourse is to appeal the judge's ruling. If Mformation is successful, the first jury verdict would not be reinstated; instead the two parties would have to fight the battle all over again in a new trial.
Research In Motion's announcement comes at a time when the firm is struggling to maintain its position as one of the world's largest manufacturers of smartphones. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company incurred substantial losses after launching its first tablet, the PlayBook, which failed to capture a significant portion of the worldwide tablet market.
The enterprise services unit is valued between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion, depending on what assets are included in a potential deal.
However, Berenberg analyst Adnaan Ahmad told Bloomberg that he doesn't think the deal will happen in the near future as, "If they were to offload this, they are offloading their jewel."
On Friday afternoon, Research in Motion traded at about $8.20, up roughly 4.7 percent. IBM traded at about $198, down roughly 4 percent.
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