PE Takes A Bite Out Of Palm
from the we-buy-you dept
Rumors about a buyout of Palm have been doing the rounds for months, but hadn't come to fruition. Today, however, Elevation Partners, the Silicon Valley private-equity firm which counts Bono among its partners says it's buying 25% of Palm in a somewhat complicated deal. Existing shareholders will be getting some cash in exchange for their reduced stake, while Elevation Partners gets a quarter of the company and will install a number of new personnel. Jon Rubenstein, an Apple veteran that oversaw the company's iPod unit, will come in as executive chairman and head of product development, replacing co-founder Jeff Hawkins in the latter role. It's slightly interesting timing, given that Hawkins oversaw the development of the Foleo, the "smartphone companion" product that was announced last week to a widely underwhelming response. On the face of it, this deal and injection of some fresh thinking sounds like exactly what Palm needs to survive in a market with which it's increasingly out of step. Palm's problems may be the cause for the complicated deal, with one writer wondering if it went down this road because nobody was interested in buying the whole company. The deal won't immediately solve any of Palm's long-running problems, but it does offer some hope for the company over the longer term -- and with several ex-Apple execs now on board, the thought is that Palm's in a similar position to Apple before the iPod, and the hope is that it will follow the same path.