Bloomberg is reporting that Palm Inc., makers of the Pre and Pixi phones as well as the Palm and WebOS operating systems, is putting itself up for sale and possibly looking at offers this week. Reported buyers of interest are HTC Corp and Lenovo Group Ltd. Dell has reportedly passed on making an offer.
Palm’s stocks have been on a very bumpy ride for months, shooting upwards upon release of the latest gadgets last year and then plummeting when sales figures were in a continued slump. Palm’s market value is guessed at $870.8 million, but a final price may be higher if it includes patent rights and other holdings.
The sale is being said to be run by Goldman Sachs Group and Qatalyst Partners. The majority owner of Palm is Elevation Partners, which holds about 30% of the company. Palm is currently headed by CEO Jon Rubinstein, formerly of Apple (think iPod).
Palm devices are sold on the Sprint and Verizon networks and hold less than 10% of the total handheld market. The company has posted losses for 11 straight quarters.
Gizmodo comments that if HTC acquires Palm, it would save Google’s butt in the current lawsuits over patent infringements with Apple regarding the Google phone. As Diaz says, “Palm owns patents that may become very effective weapons in the war against Apple’s omnipotent JesusPhone.”
Since the current rumor for this pending sale is entirely on Bloomberg, though, the question of how authentic this whole scenario is looms. Even Mashable barely gives it a mention, so it may be just more “private sources” rumor mill fodder. Who knows?