IBM mulls over RIM business division merger

Big Blue said to have made an informal approach.

IBM

IBM is said to have expressed interest in acquiring RIM's enterprise division, which consists of the encrypted servers that support BlackBerry devices.

An informal approach has been made but no talks are under way, two sources have told Bloomberg.

A purchase by IBM would be interesting, as Big Blue has focused on the software side of its business since the sale of its ThinkPad PC division to Lenovo in 2005.

Shares of RIM have almost halved since the start of 2012.

RIM hired JP Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to study strategic options in May. Thorsten Heins, RIM's CEO said he would prefer to find a partner or license the BlackBerry OS, rather than pursuing a sale. However, this doesn't look likely at this stage.

Fellow smartphone competitor Samsung had been touted as a possible suitor, but has confirmed it is not interested in purchasing its rival or licensing out the Blackberry operating system.

The Korean firm has experienced major success using the Android platform and also has its own Bada operating system.

Shares of RIM have almost halved since the start of 2012, and there are concerns it is burning through its cash reserves due to the delayed launch of its BlackBerry 10 device.

The embattled smartphone manufacturer has struggled to compete with Apple and Android and by the time Blackberry 10 hits the market in 2013 it could be left too far behind.

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