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RIM eyes hiring investment bankers: First step to a sale?

RIM is looking to bring in an adviser to explore strategic options, according to Bloomberg. Can it sell itself before the ship is steady?

Thurston Heins
Thorsten Heins, RIM chief executive

Research In Motion is reportedly prepping to hire bankers to explore strategic alternatives.

According to Bloomberg, RIM is looking for an adviser to explore options, which typically include a sale or restructuring.

Analysts have been speculating on RIM's breakup value for months, but the hang-up is often the same. RIM needs to steady its smartphone lineup and demonstrate the staying power of its next-gen operating system before buyers become interested.

For instance, Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade recently said in a research note that no buyer will emerge until RIM steadies the ship. In the meantime, Kanade gave RIM a $7 price target and a sell rating. RIM is nearly double Kanade's target right now.

However, new CEO Thorsten Heins has said that he was open to options. Those options could involve partnering on consumer applications, licensing its enterprise software and intellectual property, as well as selling the company.

The news comes as RIM disclosed in a recent filing that its hardware unit may be losing money, according to a Jefferies analysis.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "RIM eyes investment bankers: First step to a sale?"