Handspring Opens Finance Avenues

Handspring, Inc. this week expanded its financing options as rumors swirled on Wall Street that it would merge with Palm.

Handspring Monday said it has submitted a Form S-3 shelf registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would enable the company to issue a variety of additional securities. Those securities could include secured or unsecured debt, preferred and common stock and warrants. It could issue those items up to an aggregate amount of $60 million.

The move came as rumors circulated, discouraged by both companies, that Handspring and Palm would merge. Although all market studies acknowledge that those two companies combined control a majority of the handheld market place in terms of sales, their sales have declined in recent months. During that time, sales of handhelds based on Microsoft’s Pocket PC platform have surged.

Despite once being Wall Street darlings, stock prices for both companies have sagged dramatically in recent months. The merger rumors caused a significant, if temporary, jump in those stock prices Monday.

Handspring was founded by the original founders of Palm, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky. It is both a competitor to Palm — it’s Visor handhelds have taken significant market share away from Palm — and a partner since it licenses the Palm OS.

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