IBM flirts with RIM enterprise services unit acquisition

BlackBerry maker RIM’s enterprise services division is in IBM’s cross-hairs as a potential acquisition target, according to industry sources.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources, claiming that the tech giant has already made an informal approach towards purchasing the unit, which operates a network of secure servers to support the BlackBerry devices with email and messaging.

Rumours of a sell-off have been in the mill for the past couple of months, after it was learned that the company had brought in a pair of investment banks, JP Morgan Chase and RBC Capital Markets, to investigate RIM’s “strategic options”.

The company has had a tough time of late as the effects of a furiously competitive smartphone market, and particularly competition from Apple and Google, squeezed it from its once dominant spot in the sector.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who took charge at the beginning of the year following a management restructure, has embarked on a pragmatic restructuring of the firm’s workforce, shedding almost a third of RIM’s personnel and closing a number of manufacturing sites in order to boost efficiency.

He has repeatedly sought to quash rumours of any sale of all or part of the business. And it appears any such move is unlikely at this point, with Bloomberg’s sources confiding that the Canadian firm would preferring to wait for its much anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform to launch early next year before making any decisions.

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