RIM Gains on Report Samsung May Be Interested in Making Bid

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 mobile device sits on display during the BlackBerry WES 2010 Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photographer: Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, rose 8 percent after a report that Samsung Electronics Co. may be interested in buying the company.

RIM advanced to $17.47 at the close in New York. Samsung may be interested in buying RIM, and no deal has been made because Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM is asking too much, the blog BGR reported today, without identifying its sources.

An acquisition of RIM, whose stock fell 75 percent last year amid market-share losses, would give Samsung an operating system that would help it differentiate from competition as it seeks to stay ahead of Apple Inc. Samsung now makes phones based on Google Inc.’s Android software and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone, operating systems also used by rivals such as HTC Corp.

“This has been speculated before, and it does have logic to it in the sense that Samsung has no viable high-end smartphone operating system, and increasingly reselling Android or Windows Phone is being viewed as a commodity business,” said Tavis McCourt, a Morgan Keegan and Co. analyst in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for RIM, and Brett White, a spokesman for Samsung, both declined to comment.

At about $9.2 billion, RIM’s market capitalization is a fraction of Samsung’s $133 billion. Short of an acquisition, RIM could strike a technology-licensing deal with Samsung, McCourt said.

Takeover Speculation

RIM’s new BlackBerry models with touch screens and upgraded browsers, introduced last year, have failed to stop customers from opting for the iPhone and Android devices. The slump in the company’s share price prompted investment firm Jaguar Financial Corp. to call for RIM to split into separate companies, seek a buyer and shake up its management.

RIM’s stock has jumped at least 5 percent more than 10 times since the beginning of August on speculation a decline in its valuation will invite a takeover.

The company’s share of U.S. mobile-phone subscribers in the three months through November dropped to 6.5 percent from 7.1 percent in the previous quarter, according to research firm ComScore Inc. Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, increased to 25.6 percent from 25.3 percent, and Apple gained 1.4 percentage point to 11.2 percent.

Samsung said this week it is seeking to raise money through its first U.S. dollar-denominated bonds since 2004. The company, a supplier to Apple, plans to expand production capacity at a Texas factory making chips used in mobile devices.

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