According to Unstrung, and as Eric Buscemi has already posted this morning, there are up to four buyers: Two private equity firms, one of them most likely Texas Pacific Group, and two rival phone companies, Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK) and, surprise surprise, Motorola Inc. (NYSE:MOT). Palm could be sold in the next few days as it reports financial results Thursday and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Palm's banker of choice, would rather close the deal by then. The rumored price is $2 billion or something like $20 per share.
Several analysts are saying that a bid from Motorola would make more sense than one from Nokia as the latter offers similar products to that of Palm's but Motorola could see Palm's product line complimenting its own. Plus, by buying Palm, Unstrung says, Motorola could get Icahn off its case for a while for not making strategic moves. On the other hand, Nokia would like the access Palm would give it to the North American market. As it is, though, management prefers going private, according to these reports.
Why is everybody after Palm? Well, first, it's cheap. In 2006 it posted revenues of $1.6 billion and it has a market cap of $1.9 billion. Second, with the upcoming Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and the success of Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry Pearl, it's possble this market is poised for higher growth.
Not trying to dampen anyone's mood, but on March 2, PALM shares added more than 10% only to decline right back the following day.