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Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is considering splitting its handset manufacturing division, responsible for the once-popular BlackBerry smartphone, from its messaging network, according to a Sunday Times report. The British newspaper said RIM, which last month hired JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and RBC Capital to look at its strategic options, could break off its handset division into a separately listed company, or sell it.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) are among potential buyers, according to the report, which added that RIM’s messaging network could also be sold, or opened up to rival like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to generate more income.
Alternatively, the company could stay together but sell a stake to a larger technology firm like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), the paper said, without citing sources.
Last year, RIM held numerous takeover discussions with potential partners ranging from Amazon to Microsoft to private equity firms, sources previously told Reuters. But none of those talks ultimately led to an M&A transaction under former co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
RIM said in a statement that it believes its turnaround plan is still the best way to drive shareholder value, but the company is struggling amid heavy competition in a market it once dominated.
Shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) are down over 8% at $9.03 per share.
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