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Moto May Be Mulling Set-Top Sale

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is reportedly in the early phases of considering a $4.5 billion sale of its set-top box division.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Motorola is exploring the possibility of selling its home and networks mobility division for "roughly $4.5 billion." Bankers JP.MorganChase and Goldman Sachs & Co. are said to be advising Motorola; potential buyers could include other equipment vendors and private equity firms.

The set-top unit currently derives the most revenue of any single operation in Motorola. In the third quarter, the division posted revenue of $2 billion and an operating income of $199 million. In contrast, Motorola's flagship handset unit posted revenue of $1.7 billion and an operating loss of $183 million for the third quarter. (See Motorola Reports Q3.)

Motorola has previously talked about spinning off the handset unit itself into a separate company. But the firm's co-CEO and handset head, Sanjay Jha, still has plenty of work to do to turn the unit around and is pushing an aggressive Android-based smartphone strategy this year and through 2010. (See Motorola's Android Outlook.)

Motorola's shares were trading down after hours on the news at $8.77, following an $8.91 open on Wednesday morning.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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