Google said to be preparing to sell off Motorola Home unit

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) might someday use Motorola IPTV boxes as part of its Google Fiber project, but the chances of those boxes being built by a Google-owned entity are becoming slimmer by the minute.

"Multiple industry insiders and people in cable M&A circles" told Light Reading Cable that while Google still hasn't made any moves to sell the cable portion of its Motorola Mobility business--which builds cable modems, video processors, edge QAMs, CMTS and video navigation software in addition to cable and IPTV set-tops--industry consensus is that a sale sign will soon be affixed. The sources are even saying that Barclay's Capital is ready to step in as the banker.

There's even a speculative timeline. Things will rev up for real in September and bidding will start in October followed by a final deal before the end of the year, sources told the publication, although yet another source claims that Google could take a little longer because it needs to strip clean any intellectual property it wants before putting the unit up for sale. It's also unclear whether Motorola Home will be sold in one piece or several.

Sources have suggested to FierceIPTV that Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) is in the running to buy the whole kit and caboodle to increase its cable presence. Sources have also suggested that Tyco, which is chaired by longtime Moto exec Ed Breen, might be a longshot bidder.

If Google breaks up Motorola Home, Pace Plc (LSE: PIC) would be a good fit for the CPE business. Pace's American company is led by former General Instrument (which was acquired by Motorola) executive Mike Pulli. And Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) could be a possible landing place for the networking portion of Motorola's business.

A source told Light Reading Cable that Google could trim its suitors down to three to five potential candidates (and there really aren't that many more viable players in the arena) and that Chinese players like ZTE and Huawei would be only outside possibilities.

Google has been changing the face of Moto, adding former Charter Communications CTO Marwan Fawaz as executive vice president and subtracting former GI execs Dan Moloney, president of Motorola Mobility, and Geoff Roman, corporate vice president of strategy and business development.

Motorola also said it was transferring some portion of its field engineering team to Telecommunication Support Services (TSS).

For more:
- see this Light Reading story

Related articles:
Cisco Systems tops IP set-top box survey by Infonetics
Google: Motorola's patents worth $5.5B
Google promises 'changes' at Motorola, but mum on details

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