Google has hired Barclays Capital to shop around Motorola Mobility Inc.'s Home unit, which makes set-tops and broadband access gear, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing two anonymous sources.
On Aug. 6, Light Reading Cable was first to report that Barclays was rumored to be the one to help Google seek out a buyer for the unit, with industry insiders indicating that Home could fetch up to $2 billion once Google strips out the intellectual property it wants to hold onto. Bloomberg's sources also indicate that a sale might bring in $2 billion. (See Google Preps Sale of Motorola Home.)
Google paid $12.4 billion for Motorola Mobility, snaring it primarily for its treasure trove of patents so it can better protect Android against smartphone rivals such as Apple Inc.. (See Jury: Apple Guilty, But Samsung Much Guiltier.)
Industry sources have told Light Reading Cable that Google plans to get the process started by September, whittle things down to three to five candidates and have a buyer lined up by November or December. Ericsson AB, Arris Group Inc., Pace plc and Alcatel-Lucent are among the companies believed to have interest in the unit, and there's a possibility that Google might be willing to sell off Home in pieces if it can get the right price. (See Light Reading Poll: Who Will Take Motorola Home?)
Although Motorola Home's set-top business has been in decline, having it on the block could prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a supplier that wants to beef up its relatively weak position in U.S. cable, such as Ericsson or Alcatel-Lucent, or it could offer a chance for a vendor with already good cable ties, like Arris, to emerge as a stronger supplier that the MSOs can trust to keep Cisco Systems Inc. in check.
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable