The Motorola Home Business arm of the recently-acquired Motorola Mobility deals with building set-top boxes for cable providers. This unit would seemingly be ideal for the search engine giant's Google TV efforts, but the company instead wants to sell off this division so that Motorola can focus on high-end smartphones as the duo steps up competition with Apple.
Bloomberg reports that Google received multiple offers for the unit on December 7 including Arris Group Inc. and Pace Plc. which have made "the most compelling bids". The news arrives by way of an unnamed source who said a deal to sell the Motorola set-top box division currently has a 50-50 chance of being formerly announced by the end of the year.
According to the source, Google may wait until early next year to make the announcement due to "a complicated financing structure" that involves Google retaining some equity and the unit's patents. Google is reportedly looking to receive around $2 billion USD for the unit, the source claimed.
Naturally Google is declining to respond to rumor and speculation, but West Yorkshire, England- based Pace Plc. confirmed its proposal with Bloomberg, saying that the deal would result in a "reverse takeover". Currently Pace shares are suspended from trading until additional information about the acquisition can be supplied, or when the discussions with Google have ended. These talks are currently at a preliminary stage, the company said.
Bloomberg's unnamed sources claim the "complications" surrounding the Motorola unit's sale may have something to do with the company's patent-infringement litigation with TiVo Inc. They also said that private-equity firms likely won't purchase the unit due to its technology being replaced by digital applications. However Google and its financial adviser, Barclays Plc, may be working on ways to provide financing to prospective buyers.
News of the Motorola Home Business unit isn't unexpected, as Google said back in August that it planned to close about a third of Motorola's 90 facilities and cut 4,000 jobs as part of refocusing Motorola on the high-end smartphone market. The unit was part of Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings back in May.