Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has reportedly received "multiple bids" for its iconic Motorola Home Business unit. The Moto unit, which has roots tracing to the origins of the cable industry when it was Jerrold Electronics, was long a part of the cable industry's vendor duopoly along with Scientific-Atlanta, now a part of Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO).
That's all in the past. The future, according to Google, could include selling off the unit by the end of the year to bidders who include Pace Plc (LSE: PIC.L) and Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS), both of whom, Bloomberg said, offered the "most compelling bids" for the unit. That is, if the deal happens at all, thanks to what the publication called a "complicated financing structure in which Google might retain some equity to the unit's patents."
Google and Barclays Plc could offer some financing to prospective buyers, according to sources familiar with the deal. It's also unlikely that private equity firms will be involved because the unit's technology "is being replaced by digital applications."
Another factor that might slow or stop a sale: Motorola is embroiled in patent-infringement litigation with TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO).
None of the primary parties were willing to comment on the machinations, citing the fact that the process is private.
While much of what's happening is behind the scenes, leaving progress reports to leaks and sources, it is known that Google acquired the equipment business when it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The search-engine-that-could is now more interested in smartphones and the patents that go along with them as its Android versus Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) war rages, and is eager to sell off the business that builds technology for cable and telco operators for about $2 billion and change.
- Bloomberg had this story
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