Motorola denies planning Sagem takeover

Mobile phone manufacturer says rumours arose from a 'misinterpretation'

Motorola has denied it is considering a bid for the loss-making handset division of rival manufacturer Sagem.

Speaking to ZDNet UK on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Motorola claimed the allegation arose from a "misinterpretation" of words spoken by Ronald Garriques, the company's vice president, in an October interview with a reporter for the French newspaper Le Figaro. "There is nothing like that," the spokesperson added.

Garriques had reportedly said that Motorola had a "serious interest" in purchasing Sagem's handset unit, and that it was "an option in a sector that is in the process of consolidating". Consolidation is indeed underway in the handset manufacturing industry — one notable example being BenQ's acquisition of Siemens' mobile division in October 2005 (swiftly followed by the consolidated division's bankruptcy this month).

Garriques had also reportedly said that Sagem's management team were more of a draw for him than the firm's brand or technology.

Analyst David McQueen, of Informa Telecoms, told ZDNet UK that Sagem would have been an odd choice for Motorola to acquire, given that it was "very much a second-tier" manufacturer. "I don't know where it fits with Motorola as they don't really play in any high-end markets," McQueen said on Tuesday.

Garriques' comments had, at the time, sent the share price of Safran — Sagem Communications' parent company — rising by almost 5 percent.

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