Story updated with responses from Palm & Lenovo.
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (
is confident of its ability to survive as an independent entity, according to its CEO, despite a rumor citing
as a leading potential buyer.
Earlier this year, Palm gave a
, and a big question mark hangs over the company's future.
Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein
Research In Motion
in the highly competitive smartphone market, there has been
that Palm had hired bankers to scope out suitors. Companies rumored to be potential buyers included Taiwan's
, China's Lenovo Group and
, as well as Finnish giant Nokia.
However, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein told the
this week that he is "bullish" about his firm's long-term prospects. "I believe Palm can survive as an independent company," he added. "We have a plan that gets us to profitability."
Palm, which partners with
, would nonetheless sell if it received the right bid, according to Rubinstein.
"If someone comes to the board with a reasonable offer, of course it's something we have to consider," he said, but would not confirm whether Palm had hired bankers.
Citing investment banking sources, however,
reported on Friday that Lenovo has emerged as the leading candidate to buy Palm. Both Palm and Lenovo declined to comment on this story.
With the company again in the spotlight, Palm shares surged 23 cents, or 4.73%, to $5.09 in early trading on Friday, far outpacing the modest advance in tech stocks that saw the
In a recent poll, some 65% of readers surveyed by
a deal for Palm is likely
although many doubted the company's ability to command a $1.7 billion minimum price tag, as estimated by RBC Capital Markets.
One major weapon in Palm's armory, however, remains its highly-respected
fuelling talk that this could be licensed to other phone manufacturers
Rubinstein told the
that he would consider licensing the WebOS if the "appropriate strategic relationship" or business deal arose. "Obviously the more scale we get the more the benefit there is to us," he added.
-- Reported by James Rogers in New York
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