RIM was up for sale, but spurned Amazon overtures

21 Dec 2011

Smartphone maker Research in Motion put itself quietly up for sale during the summer, it emerged, but has since taken itself off the market at the behest of its board. The BlackBerry maker had been courted by Amazon but rejected the e-commerce giant’s advances.

It is understood that Microsoft and Nokia also considered bidding for RIM.

According to reports, Amazon hired an investment bank during the summer to investigate a potential merger with RIM.

While Amazon courted RIM it is understood that no formal offer had been made, according to Reuters.

RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are under pressure from their board to turn the mobile phone maker’s business around.

The company’s market value has plunged 77pc in the last 12 months to less than US$7bn.

The difficulty for both buyers and sellers is the rate of RIM’s decline, which has been caused by intense competition from Android and iOS platforms, not to mention delayed product launches and the failure so far of its PlayBook tablet computer to gain traction. In addition, in recent months, a major global outage of the BlackBerry network couldn’t have helped matters.

Until its CEOs can stem the damage and enable RIM to regain the initiative, the board has surmised there’s no point in selling the company.

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