Following up on a report that Palm executives are looking to sell the company comes word that it may also be open to licensing its WebOS and/or rallying up a new group of investors. Remember that Palm’s financial situation is pretty fragile at the moment, with some financial analysts predicting that Palm’s share price may free-fall all the way down to $0.
On the same table as “sell” are at least two other options: seeking additional capital investments (such as the hundreds of millions of dollars injected into Palm by Elevation Partners) and licensing the webOS operating system. Either would allow Palm to remain a standalone company, though if you had to ask us, extra money stands a better chance of success than licensing webOS. The smartphone marketplace is incredibly crowded and Google’s Android OS has snapped up licensees left and right. The smartphone marketplace is growing increasingly crowded, and as much trouble as Palm has had convincing customers to buy their phones, we can see even greater difficulties in getting manufacturers to pick up webOS.
Interestingly, and perhaps to spice up interest in a buy-out, Palm CTO Mitch Allen is scheduled to speak at the MDB Capital Group’s Bright Lights Conference on May 11th where he will make a presentation highlighting Palm’s patent portfolio and the “value of its technology pipeline.”
Regarding a potential sale price for Palm, Reuters writes:
Suitors would likely pay more than $1 billion for Palm. As of Friday’s close, it had a stock market value of $870 million, and deals for technology companies are carrying a premium of about 30 percent these days, according to bankers. Any buyer would face additional integration costs.
Still, the price tag could be far lower than what Palm would have fetched last year, following the introduction of its Pre phone. In the past six months, the money-losing company’s stock has tumbled 69 percent, and its market capitalization has tumbled from about $2.4 billion.