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Analyst: Fawaz's Arrival at Motorola Is 'Clear Signal' Google Plans to Sell Cable Unit

6/29/2012 2:45 PM

Why did Google decide to bring in Marwan Fawaz, former CTO of Charter Communications, to replace longtime Motorolan Dan Moloney? (See Moloney Out At Motorola, Fawaz To Take Reins At Home Unit.)

The tea leaves point to the obvious, according to Jeff Heynen, Infonetics Research’s directing analyst for broadband access and video: Google wants to get out of the set-top business.

“It’s a rather clear signal that Google is looking to sell the Home division,” Heynen wrote in an email to me. “Fawaz has the right background in cable technology and venture capital to help position the Home assets for the best possible return during a sale.”

From 2002 to 2006, Fawaz worked as an investment specialist and technology analyst for Vulcan Inc., Paul Allen’s investment company. While that doesn’t necessarily make him an M&A specialist, Fawaz does have some experience valuing technology assets.

Speculation that Google would spin off Motorola started the very day the $12.5 billion blockbuster deal was announced (see Does Google Actually Have a Plan for Motorola’s Cable Business?).

And, it’s worth noting, Motorola itself in 2009 was shopping around the Home division, according to the Wall Street Journal, with an asking price in the neighborhood of $4.5 billion (see Goodbye Moto?).

But at this point, is it a buyer’s or seller’s market for Motorola’s Home unit?

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Programming Note: Find out how operators and media companies are tapping into cloud-based technologies at TV’s Cloud Power, Thursday, July 19, at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. Scheduled speakers include Bob Fox, head of IBM Global Business Services’ Telecom, Media and Entertainment practice; Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, Verizon’s director of consumer video services; and Gordon Castle, director in PwC’s Entertainment, Media and Communications advisory practice.

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