Private equity firm Elevation Partners agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in Palm (PALM), the struggling handheld computer company behind the Treo. The price: $325 million. Palm was earlier rumored to be looking for a buyer for the whole company, but apparently could not find any takers. Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee and Fred Anderson will join Palm's board. As will Jon Rubinstein. Both Anderson and Rubinstein are former Apple executives—Rubinstein ran hardware and introduced the iPod under Steve Jobs; Anderson was CFO, until he left amidst the stock options scandal.
How Elevation hopes to turn around Palm is unclear, especially when it will soon be facing competition from Apple itself when the iPhone hits stores at the end of June. Palm's announcement just last week of a new Treo companion ultramobile laptop called the Foleo garnered a ho-hum response.
It's going to have to do better than that, and fast.