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Why Now Is the Time for Facebook to Buy RIM

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) can now buy Research In Motion (RIMM) for pennies on the dollar, a company that despite all of its struggles still has a considerable amount of value.

I know, I know. It's a semicrazy idea, but before you get all bent out of shape, consider this: Facebook's two biggest challenges are monetizing its 955 million users and figuring out its mobile ad strategy.

As much as its integration into Apple's (AAPL) iPhone is likely to help, it won't be nearly enough to compel advertisers to buy ads.

What's more, its current model is proving to be insufficient to compel investors to believe there is value in social media.

Although the company continues to show decent growth in terms of monthly active users as well as better-than-expected revenue, it seems that investors are unable to stomach what appears to be slowing revenue growth.

The term valuation is starting to matter to Facebook. The stock's recent decline is telling investors what the Facebook story has become: It needs to save some face!

The way it can do that is by making a bold enough move to tell Wall Street that it is serious about meeting its challenges head on.

The company recently hinted about making a phone of its own. But it knows nothing about hardware. Acquiring RIM would put it right in the middle of the heated battle that includes Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and especially Google (GOOG).

It's tough to consider this as merely an "option" at the moment. I tend to think that this is a move that Facebook has to do to prevent Google from eating its lunch.

Its business and sustainability is now heavily predicated on its ability to perfect mobile ad revenue. In RIM, not only will Facebook get a better enterprise presence, it will acquire assets such as RIM's BB10 software, a growing music service, and RIM's Mobile Fusion, a product that supports the collaboration of enterprise mobile devices, even that of competing models such as iPhones and, yes, even Android devices.

In essence, Facebook instantaneously becomes a hardware and services company. What would Facebook's relationship with Apple mean should it make a move like this? For that matter, how will it impact its relationship with Microsoft?

I would think that Apple would love nothing more than to help strengthen Facebook if it means knocking off their mutual adversary, Google. RIM is the perfect pawn to play what has become the tech chess game. For Facebook, buying RIM would start a new chapter in what has been (to this point) a very disappointing narrative.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: FB, RIMM, GOOG, AMZN, MSFT, AAPL 
Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.

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