Palm Inc. , creator of the Pre smartphone, is seeking bids for the company as early as this week, Bloomberg News reported, citing three unidentified people familiar with the situation. Its shares jumped as much as 9.4 per cent in Europe, following the report.
The company is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer, the news service said. Taiwan's HTC Corp. and China's Lenovo Group Ltd. have looked at the company and may make offers, it said.
Palm, which helped pioneer the market for personal digital assistants, would offer suitors the WebOS software that competes against mobile operating systems from iPhone maker Apple Inc. and Google Inc. For Elevation Partners LP, the firm that owns about 30 per cent of Palm, a sale may end the volatility of an investment in a stock that surged more than 10-fold since December 2008 before erasing most of the gain.
The Sunnyvale, California-based device maker surged 32 per cent last week on the Nasdaq Stock Market on renewed speculation of a takeover bid. Before the rally, the stock had plunged more than 60 per cent this year, dragged down by disappointing sales of the Pre and Pixi phones.
Palm shares have been buoyed in the past on speculation the company would be bought by Nokia Oyj. The Finnish company declined Monday to say if it might be interested, Bloomberg reported.
Dell Inc. looked at Palm, though it decided against an offer, according to two of the people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said. Jess Blackburn, a spokesman for the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker, didn't respond to a call for comment.
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