Palm to buy Handspring

Palm Inc. plans to buy Handspring Inc. and spin off PalmSource Inc. as a separate company, the company said Wednesday.

Palm is currently made up of two companies; PalmSource, which develops the Palm operating system, and Palm Solutions Group. After the spin-off of PalmSource, Palm Solutions Group will merge with Handspring to create a new company, to be renamed later in the year, Palm said in a statement.

The merged company will be led by Todd Bradley, Palm Solutions Group current president and chief executive officer. It will be split into two business units, one focused on handheld computing and one on smart phones, Palm said. Ken Wirt, currently Palm's senior vice president of sales and marketing, will run the handheld unit, while Handspring Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Ed Colligan will run the smart phone side.

Jeff Hawkins, Handspring Chairman and Chief Product Officer, will become the new company's chief technology officer. Hawkins set up Palm in 1992 with Donna Dubinsky, and both left along with Colligan in 1998 to set up Handspring.

Handspring shareholders will receive 0.09 Palm shares for each share of Handspring common stock owned. The value of the shares will depend on the Palm share price after the spin-off of PalmSource, Palm said.

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