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Comcast (and Others) Urged Arris to Buy Moto Home

1/16/2013 11:46 AM

Comcast wanted to be sure Motorola Mobility’s Home unit stayed in the cable family.

The MSO met with Arris to offer its support for a Moto Home bid, before the equipment vendor formally made its $2.35 billion offer to Google, according to Arris chairman and CEO Bob Stanzione, speaking Tuesday at the 15th Annual Needham Growth Conference.

“From the outset, when it became known that Google was thinking about divesting this asset, we received a lot of encouragement from customers -- including Comcast -- to go after it,” he said.

Continued Stanzione, “We met with Comcast, and this was before the process even began, and we were conjecturing over how to do it, and they offered their help.”

On Monday, Arris announced that Comcast would buy $150 million in stock upon completion of the Motorola Home deal, giving the MSO a 7.85% stake in the vendor -- the same as Google.

It’s possible Comcast extended the same offer to Pace LLC, another set-top vendor and supplier to Comcast that had entered a bid for the Home division.

Comcast is Arris's largest single customer, representing 33%, or $117.7 million, of Arris revenue for the third quarter of 2012. Following the Moto deal, Comcast will represent a smaller overall percentage of sales but will still be a hugely important customer for Arris.

Comcast’s investment in Arris “signifies (a) they wanted this deal to happen and (b) they are willing to put some money into it to make it happen,” Stanzione said. “I think it’s a very strong signal from them that they believe this is an asset that’s not only important to the industry but has an upside, too.”

Other customers also were interested in investing in Arris, Stanzione noted, but they decided to not participate as equity holders. “It is a very unusual structure to have a customer come in [as an investor],” he said.

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