Google mulling over Motorola set-top box division sell-off: report

Google mulling over Motorola set-top box division sell-off: report

Summary: According to a report, Google is trying to get rid of its Motorola Home set-top box division, and is even willing to offer financing support to prospective buyers to ease the deal.

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TOPICS: Google, Google Apps
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Credit: Motorola

Google's bid to offload the Motorola set-top box business, which it acquired during the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this year, is proving more difficult than the search giant first thought.

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, Google is considering financing options to companies looking at the division in order to get swiftly rid of the ageing unit.

Bloomberg says Arris Group and Pace Plc. have shown the most interest in the Motorola Home division, and are leading their bids to buy the unit. While Pace is an already-established set-top box maker, Arris offers back-end telephony and networking equipment services to content providers.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the division could be worth as much as $2.5 billion. However, because Google reportedly wants rid of the division, it is willing to offer up financing options to successful bidders in efforts to ease the transition of offloading the unit. 

London, U.K.-based Barclays Plc. is acting as Google's financial adviser and is looking at a variety of options, including financing.

A Google spokesperson told ZDNet: "We're not commenting on rumors about the sale of Motorola's set-top box business."

If Google did sell off the unit for even half of the $2.5 billion that it may be worth, selling the unit at a loss would hit the search giant badly, but it would still lessen the impact from the overall Motorola Mobility acquisition.

While the initial price tag for the company stood at $12.5 billion, since then, restructuring costs have bumped the overall price close to $13 billion. The deal was ultimately to acquire Motorola's 17,000 patents, despite the search giant's claims that it was more than just a patent sale.

Topics: Google, Google Apps

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8 comments
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  • One thing at a time, and Google is starting with the sale of the set-top

    box, and will soon after, start to shop around for a purchaser for the smartphone unit, and in due time, it will also divest itself of the patents not related to the Android OS and the protection needed by the hardware partners which do use Android.

    Google didn't need to pay 12.5 billion just to get at the patents it really wanted, and the initial statements by Google that it also wanted the hardware side, was a lie.
    adornoe
    • No, I think Google is 100% truthful that they want the hardware side

      but found they are currently lacking the skills needed to actually make it work. They probably are realizing it was easier said then done.

      They can't even get one of their own companies to build their Nexus line of Android related devices.
      William Farrel
      • Skill has nothing to do with the set-top box boys.

        You can always buy expertise, and Google can certainly afford it. That division was toast as soon as Google bought it because no cable provider in the world is going to choose to use a box from Google. They have enough existential threats to worry about without inviting one in of the three companies most likely to disrupt their entire business model and subvert their customer base.
        matthew_maurice
        • I was commenting on his presumption

          That Google would start to shop around for a purchaser for the smartphone unit.

          Set top boxes are a different story. I agree that Comcast would never want a Google branded cable box, even though it say "Motorola" on the front.
          William Farrel
      • You could be right, but, I've been predicting the failure of MotoMobile

        since Google first indicated it wanted to purchase it, and once Google got it, I predicted that, Moto would soon be toast or sold. Google just wanted the patents, and pretended to want the hardware side, just to appease the sellers and the employees before the sale occurred.
        adornoe
  • Pace share beens suspended

    Surely they cant keep them suspended for long, so I assume we can expect an answer from Google and Pace pretty soon on whether Pace is acquiring the company or not.
    Knowles2
  • Bonkers Descision

    This is a bonkers decision.

    - On one hand they have a well established Set-top box manufacturer
    - On the other hand, they have been strugling for years to sell Google TV

    Give Google TV to Motorola and see what they can do with it, default install on all of their boxes for starters comes tio mind. After-all Internet Connected TV with 'App's are becoming standard from mid-range up - inclusion of BBC iPlayer is de-facto standard in the UK on all but cheapo TV's and set-top boxes - Even the dominant pay-TV supplier Sky TV (40% owned by Murdoch/Fox) has iPlayer, and other content providers on it's satellite box.
    neil.postlethwaite
  • We Always Knew Google Bought Motorola Just For The Patents

    And bit by bit, the productive parts of Motorola get dismembered.
    ldo17