HP to buy struggling Palm for big smartphone push

HP has knocked some pretty wide-ranging speculation on the head and announced that it is to buy Palm for $5.70 per share, or around $1.2 billion.

HP’s presence in the smartphone market has been low-key so far. Acquiring Palm brings it the company’s WebOS platform and gives it a fighting chance of catching up with the likes of RIM and Apple.

“Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected “said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group.

“Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.

In recent weeks, speculation has been rife about a potential acquisition of Palm. The company reported a frankly rotten performance in its third quarter results in March, recording a net loss of $22 million for the quarter.

At about the same time, ComScore published market share figures showing that Palm’s US market share had fallen to just 5.7 percent.

Dell, HTC, Lenovo, RIM and Nokia have all been rumoured as potential buyers – practically everybody except HP, really.

The deal is expected to close by the end of July.