IBM has reportedly approached Research In Motion about acquiring the struggling smartphone maker's enterprise services unit.
According to Bloomberg, IBM made an informal inquiry to RIM about a potential deal, but only for the enterprise services business unit. Berenberg Bank analysts valued the unit at between $US1.5 billion and $2US.5 billion.
RIM has been at the centre of acquisition rumors in recent weeks as the company's smartphone market share declines and its BlackBerry smartphone suffers against the iPhone and Android devices. In May, RIM announced it had hired J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help it review financial options, including potentially selling the business and splitting the company in two.
A number of suitors has been named in recent reports, including Amazon and Facebook. After being cited in a Jefferies analyst report as a potential buyer for RIM, Samsung publicly announced it was not considering acquiring the smartphone maker.
RIM has struggled to reverse its declining revenue and market share despite a leadership change. In January, the company tapped Thorsten Heins to replace former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, but RIM has suffered delays for its BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will breathe new life into the BlackBerry smartphone and help RIM better compete with Apple and Google.
As the world's largest solution provider, IBM could add RIM's enterprise services business to its market-leading IBM global services division, giving Big Blue's services business a boost in the smartphone and mobile device markets.