Embattled smartphone firm Palm is putting itself up for sale – and Asian handset makers are the early frontrunners.
Palm has engaged Goldman Sachs and Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer, Bloomberg has reported.
Taiwan-based HTC and China hardware firm Lenovo have been touted as potential buyers for the company.
The move comes after several days of intense speculation about the company, driving up its stock price 32% last week.
Palm’s stock rose 17.05% to 88 cents on the news yesterday, although it fell 9 cents in after-hours trading.
Despite bleeding cash and with less than 2% of the smartphone market, Palm is a potentially attractive acquisition. It last year launched two well-reviewed devices, the Pixi and the Pre, and has a new operating system, the WebOS.
Palm had a market value of around $870 million prior to yesterday, Bloomberg said.
Blogsite GigaOm said Palm would be a good fit for Taiwan-based HTC, which sells phones using the Windows Mobile and Android platforms. It noted Microsoft has made it clear it is taking more control over the handset, leaving less room for OEMs
The acquisition would mean “HTC would stand alone for the first time ever as a viable smartphone company, one with hardware expertise, prior relationships with nearly every carrier worldwide and a new software platform to call its very own,” it said.