Goodbye Moto? Set-Top Unit May Be on Block


Motorola is reportedly exploring a sale of its Home and Networks Mobility unit, which includes its set-top box and mobile-phone network equipment operations, and has hired investment bankers JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs as advisers.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, Motorola is in the early stages of seeking a buyer for its Home and Networks Mobility division. The Journal reported that Motorola is seeking $4.5 billion for the unit. Possible suitors could include private-equity companies and electronics giants like Samsung.

Home and Networks Mobility accounted for $2 billion of Motorola's $5.5 billion in sales in the third quarter. Last year, it was the second-largest unit in the company, generating $10.1 billion of revenue. According to the Journal, the decision to explore a sale comes after attempts to spin off its mobile handset unit have stalled.

In a statement, Motorola said it would not comment on rumor and speculation, but remains resolute in its wont to split into two separate companies — mobile devices and broadband mobility solutions.

“We remain committed to the separation goal and continue to believe that it is the right strategy to position Motorola for long-term success,” the company said.

The Journal said a sale of the unit could pump some needed cash into Motorola, helping reverse a downward spiral at its Mobile Devices unit, which includes wireless handsets. Sales there dipped 46% in the third quarter.