Unstrung is reporting that Palm is looking to sell itself by March 22 to either Nokia, Motorola or a private bidder.
This end game isn't all that surprising given that Palm doesn't have the resources to compete with a larger player. Palm earlier this month retained Morgan Stanley to explore options. Another likely bidder could be Motorola--the Treo would help smooth out declining average selling prices for Motorola's phones. Perhaps Motorola CEO Ed Zander bailed on the CTIA keynote because he didn't want to hear a bunch of Palm questions.
There are up to four buyers on the hook in all -- two private equity firms and two rival gadget vendors. Texas Pacific Group is said to be one of the interested private equity firms and it is speculated -- but not certain -- that Silver Lake Partners is the other.
As Unstrung has already reported, Nokia Corp. is the key bidder in the vendor world. The number one handset vendor is said to be considering a bid at $19 to $20 a share.
What's the best exit strategy for Palm in the long run? Probably a purchase by a rival. If Palm goes private ultimately it will still be competing with much larger players. A buyout firm won't sweat each quarter and the Palm could retool with new products. But in the end Palm--public, private or otherwise--still doesn't have the scale to compete.