International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) has RIM’s Enterprise Unit on its Radar

Blackberry maker Research In Motion Limited(TSE:RIM)’s enterprise services unit is on the radar of International Business Machines Corp.(NYSE:IBM), Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting unidentified sources.

IBM, which is the world's largest provider of computer services to enterprises, had made an informal approach to the Canadian firm for a possible acquisition of the division, which operates a network of secure servers used to support RIM's Blackberry devices the report said.

The enterprise business may be valued between 41.5 billion and $2.5 billion depending on the mix of assets included, the report quoted Berenberg Bank.

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RIM has been steadily losing market share to other players and has been unable to stem the slide. Apple's iPhones and Android-powered smartphones have eroded its popularity in the corporate user segment. Blackberry's unique selling point was its secure enterprise network that made it a favourite with corporates concerned about protecting the safety of their data.

Bloomberg said that no party had shown interest in buying all of RIM or the division that makes it phones. RIM is inclined to wait for the rollout of Blackberry 1 phones in early 2013 before taking any decision on a sale, it quoted the source. No talks were currently underway, the source said.

“If they were to offload this, they are offloading their jewel,” Adnaan Ahmad, an analyst at Berenberg with a sell rating on RIM’s shares, told Bloomberg. “They want to give BlackBerry 10 a go, so I don’t think this would happen until next year.”

For IBM the acquisition, if it fructifies, would give it control of a secure and speedy mailing environment that's preferred by many large corporation over more consumer-oriented products.

RIM shares were up nearly 6 percent at $8.18 at 10:58 a.m. in New York. Before today, RIM’s stock had slid 95 percent from its mid-2008 high, putting its market value at $4.1 billion.
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