According to Business Insider, new details are emerging from the HP/Palm purchase, namely who was in the running prior to HPs winning bid. The Business Insider is reporting that Apple, Google, and RIM all had serious conversations with Palm about a potential acquisition. An anonymous source says that Apple and Google were interested in Palm’s 450+ patent library and pending patents, while RIM “had the deal in their hands” before things went south. The report goes on to say that Nokia was no where near the deal.
The Palm deal appealed to several large interested parties. Palm contacted 16 different companies about the deal, including five serious potential companies.
Business Insider reported these little tidbits:
- Apple was mostly interested in Palm’s huge library of intellectual property and patents (450+ patents on file, another 400+ applications on file). And unlike some other bidders, Apple even seemed committed to funding Palm’s operations, perhaps to challenge RIM’s dominance in the keyboarded segment of the smartphone industry, our source says.
- RIM basically had the deal in its hands and “had to work incredibly hard to blow it,” the source recalls. RIM initially came in higher than HP, but HP upped its bid.
- Google, likely interested in Palm’s intellectual property, supposedly only wanted it because Google thought Apple might want it. But Google supposedly didn’t know Apple was actually bidding for Palm, so it didn’t proceed.
- Nokia, bizarrely, wasn’t anywhere near the deal.
How does this compare with what is publicly known about Palm’s deal process? In May, Palm filed a long merger proxy with the SEC, detailing how it decided to sell itself — including the part where it was in contact with 16 potential buyers — and how HP and four other anonymous companies pursued it. (“Company A,” “Company B,” etc.)
- “Company A” offered $600 million in cash and didn’t raise its bid. B.I. assumes this is Apple, making its lowball cash bid but not getting into a bidding war.
- “Company B” proposed to acquire Palm in a stock-for-stock transaction, but also said that its “proposed transaction would take at least several months longer to close than is customary.” B.I. assumes this is Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker that was reportedly the “leading candidate” for Palm in mid-April.
- “Company C” first wanted to acquire patent rights from Palm, then later tried to buy Palm as a whole. It originally offered $6-7 per share, but after more diligence, lowered its bid to $5.50 per share. B.I. assumes this is RIM.
- “Company D” contacted Palm to discuss an intellectual property transaction but did not make a proposal to acquire Palm. Discussions continued intermittently and fizzled out. B.I. assumes this is Google.
HP then ended up acquiring Palm for $5.70 per share, and is now in the process of shaping Palm’s WebOS platform into its own operating system, for tablets, mobile devices, and printers.
Published on July 21, 2010