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Finnish manufacturer Nokia or US firm Motorola are among the most suitable candidates for a takeover of ailing smartphone manufacturer Palm, according to analysts from Morgan Stanley.

Mergers and acquisitions experts from the investment bank also believe that both Research in Motion (RIM) and HTC could benefit strategically from ownership of Palm.

News of their prognosis comes after stories broke earlier this week that Palm is looking for a buyer, which sent shares in the company soaring.

Morgan Stanley's report stated: "We believe the potential ownership of WebOS would create a more defendable and viable long-term mobile devices business for Motorola."

If Nokia were to pick up Palm, it could add the webOS platform along with Symbian, Meamo and MeeGo to the list of smartphone operating systems in which it has a controlling interest.

Meanwhile, RIM could get its hands on Palm's portfolio of patents, allowing it to diversity its range in the USA.

Various spokespeople for the firms named in the report have declined to make any clear statements as to their positions at this stage.

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