One of Palm's latest SEC filings reveals the company received interest from 16 companies including HP. Six firms entered nondisclosure agreements, and HP turned out to be the party with the best offer. The names of the other firms that were interested in acquiring Palm are unknown.
Hewlett-Packard landed Palm by raising its bid following interest from other suitors after intellectual property and a potential licensing arrangement for the WebOS.
The proxy statement, which sparked a good bit of discussion, provides an interesting read on how HP landed Palm. Simply put, HP almost fell short of acquiring Palm. Palm outlines the process to sell itself and the role of "Company C," an unnamed outfit that was in the running until the HP deal was actually announced.