August 12, 2012

RIM Considering Selling NewBay, Enterprise Division, Other Assets?

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Research In Motion (RIM) is considering selling off some recently-acquired assets, including the cloud services provider it purchased late last year, and has reportedly been approached by IBM regarding the division responsible for operating BlackBerry email and SMS servers, various media outlets reported late last week.

On Saturday, Reuters, citing unidentified sources, said that digital content services firm NewBay, purchased by the RIM for $100 million in October 2011, was among the assets being marketed as part of a "strategic review process."

"RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, is a pioneer in the smartphone industry, but has struggled over the last couple of years, as its aging line-up of BlackBerry smartphones have not been able to compete against more-advanced devices," including Apple's iPhone and various Android-based smartphones, the news agency said.

"The acquisition of NewBay in Dublin, Ireland, was a huge part of the former RIM leadership's plan to alter its course and boost service revenue by having carriers use its services for messaging, content delivery and analytics on all smartphones," they added. "When RIM bought it in late 2011, NewBay had over 80 million subscribers."

On Thursday, Reuters also reported that a pair of sources had told Bloomberg that IBM had made "an informal approach" for the BlackBerry manufacturer's enterprise services business. Analysts claim that the division could be worth as much as $2.5 billion, according to Telegraph staff and agency reports.

"The enterprise services division is now viewed as by far RIM´s most valuable operational asset. Many IT departments still favor BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the software which delivers emails to millions of suit pockets, over rivals because of its superior security features," the UK newspaper said. "For a company such as IBM, ownership of the software could open up new corporate clients for its other IT services."

"IBM and RIM both declined to comment on the approach, but in May the Canadian firm announced it had hired JP Morgan Chase and RBC Capital to advise it on strategic options. RIM chief executive [Thorsten] Heins has said he would prefer to find a partner or license RIM´s system to other manufacturers, rather than pursuing a sale," they added.

Earlier reports on Thursday had claimed that Samsung was considering either acquiring RIM or licensing their new mobile operating system, but the South Korean electronics company denied those rumors, Reuters said.