Is Palm up for sale? HTC and Lenovo potential buyers

12 Apr 2010

Smart-phone maker Palm, having seen its gamble on the Palm Pre slip through its fingers, is understood to be seeking a buyer. The company is understood to be looking for bids as early as this week.

Likely bidders include Taiwan’s HTC and China’s Lenovo. Dell is understood to have looked at Palm but declined making an offer.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners have been contracted to find a buyer.

Palm’s gamble to reinvigorate its fortunes with its innovative Palm Pre smart phone failed to pay off. The company has traditionally been seen as hampered by its scale and for years the idea of a larger electronics manufacturer with global reach has sparked speculation.

Elevation Partners, the venture capitalist firm which includes Irish rock star Bono as a shareholder, has a 30pc stake in Palm. The company has seen Palm’s stock rise and fall at a dizzying pace. Palm’s stock jumped 80pc in January 2009 at the launch of the Palm Pre at the Consumer Electronics Show and had reached a high of US$17.46 in September.

However, its share price fell 79pc after it emerged Palm’s sales of the device were overtaken by marketing costs and unrelenting competition from Apple’s iPhone and a market flooded by hordes of different Google Android-based smart phones.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Palm Pre

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years