Research In Motion turned down takeover overtures from Amazon.com and other potential buyers this past summer, according to an exclusive report by Reuters, which claims the BlackBerry maker wanted to turn around the business on its own through the launch of new phones, better use of assets such as BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring. The company is still be open to licensing deals or other types of commercial partnerships.
Although Amazon did not make a formal offer for RIM it was reportedly looking at the viability of buying the Canadian firm. People with knowledge of the situation cited by Reuters said Amazon took on the services of an investment bank to review a potential merger. It's not clear whether any price was discussed.
A separate Wall Street Journal report claims Microsoft and Nokia also "flirted with the idea of making a joint bid" in recent months. The proposal, which included Nokia taking on RIM's hardware business, was discussed in an informal manner and was never taken to the board level according to the report.
Apparently, an outright sale or joint venture is not on the cards right now because the company is in such a bad shape. RIM's market value has plunged 78% in the last 12 months to about $6.5 billion following a series of disappointing quarterly reports, delayed phone launches, weak PlayBook tablet sales and a major fault in October that caused millions of BlackBerry users to lose service -- among other things.
Several industry watchers have suggested that RIM needs to change its co-CEO leadership to turn things around. Jaguar Financial Corporation, which holds 5% of RIM’s stock, asked the company to consider a sale last week and called on directors to "seize the reins" before more market value is lost.