Is Moto Having Second Thoughts?

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has reportedly shelved an auction for its Home & Networks Mobility division after the initial round of bids fell woefully short of the desired $4.5 billion.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Moto stopped the auction process after getting bids in the range of $3 billion to $4 billion for the unit, which makes set-tops, mobile handsets, and cable modems.

The rumor that Moto was shopping the unit or considering some sort of spinoff emerged in November, followed by much speculation about who would have the money and motivation to make an offer. Among recent activity, it's believed that several private equity firms, and possibly Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), participated in the first round of bidding. (See Who's Saying Hello to Moto? )

However, the company has not confirmed that it's even looking to move the division in whole or in pieces. On Friday, a Moto spokeswoman said the company was not commenting on yesterday's report. (See Huawei Seen as Likely Moto Suitor and Moto May Be Mulling Set-Top Sale.)

Still, a recent move overseas indicates that Moto's already willing and able to change the way the division's doing business, at least in certain circumstances.

Earlier this week, the company confirmed it had sold its EuroDocsis CPE business to Taiwan's Compal Broadband Networks (CBN), believing the deal will help streamline the business for that region and reduce unit pricing as MSOs get rolling with wideband services. Although it's licensing the technology so CBN can handle sales and support, Motorola's still in charge of all cable modem product development. (See Moto Streamlines EMEA Biz With Compal and Moto Sells EMEA Docsis Modem Biz.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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