IBM Wanted to Acquire RIM's Enterprise Service Business Unit - Report

IBM Unofficially Approached RIM to Buy Blackberry Services

by Anton Shilov
08/10/2012 | 02:14 PM

IBM has informally approached Research in Motion, the company that makes Blackberry smartphones, in a bid to acquire the company's most valuable asset, the enterprise services unit, a news-agency reported on Friday. RIM reportedly decided to wait for Blackberry 10 platform to arrive before making any decisions regarding any transactions.


IBM made an unofficial approach to RIM about possibly of acquiring the division, which operates a network of secure servers used to support RIM’s BlackBerry devices and also owns numerous patents, reports Bloomberg news-agency citing two unidentified sources familiar with the matter. RIM reportedly turned down the offering from IBM, which could bring the firm $1.5 - $2.5 billion, so currently there are no ongoing negotiations.

Since enterprise-class Blackberry services is RIM's unique asset, it is not in the interests of RIM's shareholders to sell it without the smartphone business unit. Meanwhile, nobody wants to takeover unprofitable smartphone division, which is also losing market share to Apple iOS and Google Android. As a result, RIM prefers to wait and see whether smartphones based on BlackBerry 10 platform will be successful when they come out in early 2013.

“If they were to offload this, they are offloading their jewel. They want to give BlackBerry 10 a go, so I do not think this would happen until next year,” said Adnaan Ahmad, an analyst at Berenberg.

By contrast, taking over RIM's BlackBerry email services used by many enterprises, would make IBM's portfolio of business-oriented services not only richer, but unique. In fact, it is somewhat surprising why IBM did not acquire RIM completely only to keep the services and phase-out the hardware.

IBM and RIM did not comment on the news-story.