RIM shares soar on takeover rumors
Research In Motion's shares took off Wednesday amid unconfirmed reports that tech heavyweights Microsoft, Nokia and Amazon had looked to take over the BlackBerry smartphone maker.
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that US software giant Microsoft and Finnish cell phone behemoth Nokia mulled a joint takeover of RIM in recent months.
Other reports said online retailer Amazon had separately weighed an offer for Canada's largest technology company.
The speculation drove a seven percent jump in RIM shares in morning trading in Toronto, to Can$13.86 (US$13.48).
RIM would not confirm or deny it held takeover talks with any of the companies.
"Sorry, RIM's standard policy is to decline comment on rumors and speculation," a spokesman told AFP in an email.
National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson said it is "very unlikely" that anyone including Amazon, Microsoft or Nokia would buy RIM now, "given the company's dismal performance and uncertain outlook."
He predicted BlackBerry sales to fall significantly over the coming year, adding, "This has to scare buyers off for now."
"We expect the vultures to circle and to wait for a lower entry point," Thompson concluded, noting that potential buyers "are few" and that valuing RIM's intellectual property is "challenging."
RIM shares have lost 80 percent of their value this year.
A costly BlackBerry service outage and deep discounting of the price of its PlayBook tablet computer were cited last week as factors in the company's latest gloomy earnings figures.
(c) 2011 AFP