As Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) stock has sunk to multiyear lows, a variety of buyout rumors unsurprisingly have popped up. The latest one: RIM is thinking of unloading its handset business to either Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) or Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Research In Motion then would maintain control over its messaging business.
About a month ago, RIM’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, retained the Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) to explore “strategic alternatives.” So yes, the recent rumors have some validity.
No doubt, Facebook and Amazon want to find a way to get a much bigger piece of the mobile market to avoid being at the mercy of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). While RIMM’s handset business is ailing, it still has extensive relationships with the carriers and large manufacturing capabilities. If anything, Facebook and Amazon could leverage their user bases, as well as engineering talent and cash.
The problem: RIM probably needs to get a deal done soon, as the company’s business is deteriorating rapidly. As a result, it could be tough to get a premium for its assets.