Something was going on with Motorola (MOT) shares yesterday… and I wish I knew exactly what it was. Here’s what we do know:
As I noted in a post yesterday, the Web site Unstrung.com is reporting that Palm (PALM) could announce a deal to sell itself as soon as Thursday, at $19-$20 a share. Potential buyers, according to the story, included Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Motorola, Texas Pacific Group and possibly Silver Lake Partners.
Would Motorola shares rise if the company bought Palm? Maybe, if investors thought the company needs to bulk up its offerings in the smartphone segment. I would note that Palm had a close relationship with Good Technology, the corporate mobile email provider that was recently acquired by Motorola.
Or maybe something else is going on. Wireless Week reported yesterday that Motorola CEO Ed Zander canceled plans to deliver a keynote address at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando next week. So what’s that about? Is he busy engineering a deal for Palm? Is he on the way out? Does he had the flu? I dunno. Actually, the company told the Chicago Tribute that Zander had “an unforeseen scheduling conflict.” Must be something pretty important, not to show up to give a keynote at one of his industry’s largest trade shows, expected to attract 40,000 people.
CNBC adds another possibility to the list of speculations: that the pressure from Carl Icahn could be pushing to company to sell out to private equity investors. That would be a big deal: the company has a market cap today of $45 billion. Reuters is likewise reporting that there are buyout rumors floating around.