UBS analyst Maynard Um is suggesting that Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) would be an even better fit for the BlackBerry maker.
Now keep in mind that Um isn't privy to insider chatter. He's not pretending to crank up the rumor mill. He's just dreaming out loud, a matchmaker from the sidelines if you will.
He believes that RIM would dovetail perfectly with its Flip digital camera line. Now that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) is cramming reasonable quality video cameras into its iPhone and iPod touch lines, Flip is exposed as a one-trick pony in a Swiss Army knife world.
There are synergies here -- from RIM's mobile voice system to Flip's video processing technology -- that can mesh together nicely.
Obviously, it would be stupid for Cisco to throw even more money at what is shaping up to be a bad initial acquisition of Flip's parent company. However, Um points out that $33 billion of Cisco's boatload of cash is offshore. Buying Canada's RIM would be a useful way to put that money to work without initiating the taxing repatriation process.
Um argues that the deal only makes sense if the valuation is right. Thankfully, RIM is pretty cheap these days. The BlackBerry giant is still growing, yet it's trading for just eight times this year's projected profitability.
"I'm fairly certain they (Microsoft) have a standing offer to buy them at $50 (a share)," Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek told Reuters two years ago.
Well, that obviously never happened. RIM is now below $50 -- where it has been through most of the past two years -- and Mr. Softy hasn't stepped up, even though RIM is larger and far more profitable today than it was in 2008.
I'll have to admit that Cisco does make sense. RIM's shares are depressed, as worrywarts feel that slicker smartphones will eventually find BlackBerry usage peaking. However, RIM remains a force in its enterprise stronghold. Cisco can help, having the muscle and IT street cred to penetrate deeper into corporations with connectivity needs.
Just as Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is rolling out the Palm Pre 2, Apple is selling millions of iPhones monthly, and both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and Microsoft are making waves with their mobile operating systems, tech bellwethers belong in the smartphone space.
Come on in, Cisco. The pool's crowded but the water's heating up.
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