Palm, Handspring deny merger talks

Handheld device makers Palm and Handspring both strongly denied Tuesday that they are in merger talks, the day after rumors to the contrary pushed up the stock prices for both companies.

"It's not true. It's a rumor and we don't comment on rumors," said Lorraine Legros, Palm spokeswoman in the company's Paris office.

"We aren't in talks to acquire Palm or to be acquired by Palm," said a Handspring spokeswoman in the U.K. who asked not to be named.

Talk of a merger between the PDA (personal digital assistant) makers began Monday after a report in The Wall Street Journal newspaper, quoting "people familiar with the situation," said that merger talks were held between Palm and Handspring last year in a "war room" scenario. Though those particular merger talks were dropped -- with both companies currently in the middle of restructuring plans and new products in development -- the possibility of a merger cannot be dismissed, the WSJ said.

The report also quoted various Wall Street money managers and analysts as hoping that the resignation of Palm's chief executive officer, Carl Yankowski, at the beginning of the month could possibly pave the way for the company to merge with its rival.

By the end of Monday on the Nasdaq stock exchange, Palm (PALM) was up US$0.44, or 13 percent to close at $3.87 per share, while Handspring (HAND) was up $1.41 or 35 percent to close at $5.41 per share.

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Laura Rohde

Computerworld

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