Exclusive: HP weighing sale of webOS unit

NEW YORK Mon Nov 7, 2011 6:25pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co is evaluating a potential sale of its webOS software platform in a deal that could fetch hundreds of millions of dollars but likely less than the $1.2 billion the company paid for Palm Inc in 2010, said four sources close to the matter.

HP is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch as it weighs whether to sell or keep the webOS unit, the sources said.

Several technology companies have expressed an interest in buying the division, which is seen as attractive for its patents, the sources said. Oracle Corp might be among the likely technology firms interested in the asset, one of the sources said.

The future of the unit, which HP acquired when it bought Palm last year, was put in jeopardy after the company decided to kill its WebOS-based TouchPad tablet following poor sales.

HP and Bank of America declined to comment.

(Reporting by Nadia Damouni; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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