Before its $12.5 billion acquisition has been made official, Google is reportedly looking to sell off Motorola Mobility’s set-top box business, bringing on partners to help advertise it to potential buyers, the New York Post has revealed.
According to the report, Google has brought in Qatalyst Partners and Barclays Capital to reach out to interested parties, reviving reports of a potential sale after Motorola failed to offload the business in 2009 for a reported $4.5 billion.
If true, it’s an interesting development, especially given Google co-founder Larry Page’s comments on Motorola’s market-leading home device business when the acquisition was first announced.
Google’s current CEO said in an official blog post:
Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business. With the transition to Internet Protocol, we are excited to work together with Motorola and the industry to support our partners and cooperate with them to accelerate innovation in this space.
With intense competition in the set-top box market (don’t forget that Apple could unveil a new Apple TV device during today’s keynote), the price of a potential sale is expected to be driven lower, with one source telling the NY Post that it could be ‘anywhere between $2.5 billion and $4 billion.’
Also forcing Google’s hand may be a reluctance by cable operators to purchase boxes from Motorola ahead of the Google purchase.
The vast majority of Motorola’s set-top box sales are to cable companies which then provide their customers with access to television broadcasts on their networks. So if Google isn’t able to sustain the same amount of orders before the takeover, it would be well-placed to sell the business so it does not affect its future operations in the space.
Google, of course, also operates in the television software market, providing Google TV software for OEMs to build into their own devices. Over the course of the next year, major technology firms are set to launch new set-top boxes and integrated televisions, which could impact sales of Motorola/Google’s own set-top boxes.
The search giant has neglected to comment on the report, saying that it doesn’t “comment on rumor or speculation.”