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RIM shares jump amid market slump

Research In Motion shares have jumped amid an overall market decline. Is a major deal in the works for the BlackBerry maker?

Shares for two-way messaging company Research In Motion have run up sharply over the last two days, sparking rumors that a major deal may be in the works for the BlackBerry maker.

After closing at $21.65 on Wednesday, shares of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company were trading at $26.93 in midday trading Friday after reaching a high of $29.16. Volumes of the shares in the middle of the day were about 11 million, well above the recent per day average of 1.5 million.

The company has not released any significant news to warrant the increased interest and pricing.

"Nothing has changed in the strategic landscape that would justify such a significant run in price and volume," said Justin Udelhofen, an analyst with investment bank Needham.

RIM representatives declined to comment.

Analysts have been speculating that the company is working on a major deal. They think this might at the very least involve a distribution deal for its services and devices and could even mean the sale of the company. Potential partners include Hewlett-Packard, according to rumors making the rounds among short sellers.

RIM develops devices and software that allow individuals to send and receive data such as e-mail wirelessly through handheld devices. The company maintains the BlackBerry service and has been working with handheld operating system companies and device makers to broaden the distribution of its services and software. In the past, RIM focused on businesses and their employees as subscribers to its service, but more recently, it has been developing devices to target the larger professional market.

RIM has also been embroiled in a series of lawsuits, the most recent against Xerox. Earlier this week, RIM filed suit against Xerox to prevent the copier company from demanding patent royalties. This was largely seen as a defensive measure. Xerox is claiming that RIM infringed on its patents.

In a separate case, RIM is awaiting a decision from a federal court in Richmond, Va., concerning a patent infringement case filed against RIM by holding company NTP.

The company is also embroiled in a

RIM announced Wednesday the incorporation of IBM's instant messaging software from its Lotus division, which will likely enhance its appeal to enterprise customers.