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RIMM: Facebook Takeover Target?

 May 30, 2012 12:48 AM

(By Karl Denninger) The "pump of the day" rumor was that Facebook might buy RIMM to "get a smartphone."

Does this pass the sniff test?


Here's why it might make some sense.

If you've used the Playbook you know about the browser.  It simply is the best-of-breed in the tablet marketplace -- period.  It has flash integration (Apple does not) and in addition it has everything else working too.  The experience is very much like a desktop -- and it's the only tablet that is.

That same browser will be in the BB10 phones.

And it matters.

A lot.

The other speculative target around is Opera.  Eh, maybe.  Opera is highly-optimized on mobiles to reduce traffic, which is good.  But it's not the Playbook browser.

[Related -Fusion-IO, Inc. (FIO): Can Fusion-IO Q2 Results Cheer Street?]

So that's the argument, to be basic about it.

Now on to the other side of the coin, and why I don't buy it.

Simply put, security.  RIMM has it and nobody else does.  And I can't imagine RIMM's enterprise and government customers putting up with the idea of Facebook acquiring RIMM and getting its hooks into the quite-secure world of RIMM's email and devices.

Were Facebook to do this they'd flush the government and big business customer down the toilet.  Basically, they'd be buying the technology and putting a zero value on the customers.

[Related -Google Inc (GOOG): Why Nest Labs Deal Is A Wakeup Call For Apple Inc.?]

At today's price RIMM has a $5.7 billion market cap.  Figure they'd bid $7.5 - $10, perhaps toward the top to try to make it a knock-out that would get quick approval from the board (lest the shareholders lynch the board members.)

$10 billion for a browser, QNX and the incoming device stream? 

That's doesn't look attractive to me at all, so I ring the gong on this one.

The wildcard: Zuckerberg.  Would he do it simply because now he's got a currency to spend and he can swing it around?  I don't know -- he is an arrogant ass. But if he does I'd be inclined to short Facebook hard, even here.

Disclosure: The author plays in RIMM and hasn't been able to get a borrow on Faceplant -- unfortunately.

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