John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM Jumps on Samsung Buyout Rumors, but Licensing Deal More Likely

A rare good day for Research In Motion on Wall Street today. Shares in RIM spiked nearly 9 percent to $17.61 Tuesday afternoon on renewed speculation that it is looking to sell off portions of its business, or perhaps even the company as a whole.

This time around, Samsung is said to be the leading suitor, or rather the company with which RIM would most like to strike an agreement — though once again its leadership is believed to be asking for too much money.

There is an alternate theory making the rounds, though, and this one seems far more plausible than the breathless “RIM is desperately trying to sell itself” blathering: RIM is talking to Samsung about a licensing deal for its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 OS.

This seems a far more likely scenario. After all, it would take a bold company indeed to pay the premium RIM would almost certainly demand for itself. And what would it be purchasing? The chance to turn around RIM’s deteriorating business? An opportunity to do damage control on the ill-starred PlayBook? The chance to arrive late to market with another ill-conceived BlackBerry? And then to go head-to-head with Apple and Google, which have already wiped the floor with it?

No. A licensing deal is much more plausible, as Jefferies analyst Peter Misek observed in a research note to clients today.

“We see a licensing deal announced within the next 3 months with actual BlackBerry 10 handsets out in Q4,” Misek said, adding that he feels the company will likely charge a licensing fee of $10 per device. “We believe this is the main way RIM will be able to maintain its services revenues and build ecosystem momentum. We believe Samsung and HTC would do this to gain access to the RIM subscriber base [and] diversify away from sole dependence on Android.”

RIM declined comment on the rumors, citing company policy on market speculation.

UPDATE: This just in from Samsung via Reuters: “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM).”

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