RIM hires Goldman Sachs? Sell-off likely, but not soon

Goldman Sachs is thought to have been hired by the BlackBerry maker to field potential buyout bids. While a sell-off is a possibility, it will not happen for a while yet.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Research in Motion's share price rose by over 5 percent last night, after speculation emerged that the flailing BlackBerry maker hired Goldman Sachs to strategically advise the company's future direction.

The news came from an unnamed Wall Street trader speaking to Reuters* after market close. But the trader remains sceptical that a sale could come any time soon.

Research in Motion has fallen by over 70 percent in the past 12 months, but settled yesterday at over $16 a share.

The smartphone maker regularly is at the center of sell-off rumours. The market cannot decide on who could, or should buy the company. Microsoft or Google makes the most sense for the email capability, but the companies have other worries to concern themselves with a failing smartphone maker.

It is also not the first time the company's stock has jumped as a result of a takeover bid. In fact, despite the steep decline in RIM's share price to below book value, persistent rumours that the company will be taken over caused the stock to raise 10 times since the beginning of August, Bloomberg reports.

While the tag team of co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie remain in control of the company.

ZDNet's editor-in-chief Larry Dignan called out on Lazaridis and Balsillie to leave the company they co-founded. Perhaps it is time for the board to favour a Scott Thompson-like company director; someone who is renown for turning a company around?

RIM's investors are growing hungry for change. Earlier this month, a group of shareholders is calling on the company to be broken up or put out for sale.

Speaking to the BBC's World Service, chief executive of activist shareholder Vic Alboni said that Research in Motion has "lost it". While he believes the company should be trading at a far higher price than it currently is, he added that, "the party is over".

If the reports are true that RIM has brought in Goldman Sachs to field potential buyout bids, it could indicate that the company's executive team is finally considering the 'nuclear option' of a sell-off. As sister site CNET notes, Yahoo hired investment banks months ago to perform much of the same purpose, with no avail.

A spokesperson for Research in Motion declined to comment on market speculation.

* Updated story to correct source: Fox Business syndicated Reuters wire.


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