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Mergers & acquisitions

Deal Watch: Motorola Heads for 4Home

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) Mobility is putting its money where its mouth is in the smart home, announcing late Wednesday it intends to acquire 4HomeMedia Inc. , which provides automation, monitoring, and energy management to the residential market. (See Motorola Acquires 4Home.)

4Home's software-based services let consumers remotely access their digital media, set their security systems, or monitor their energy usage and even their health. The company also has relationships with utilities, which are sought-after customers for telcos. (See HGI: Promote Energy-Smart Homes, iControl, uControl Strike Merger Deal , and BT Launches Smart Grid Consortium.)

The smart home is hot turf, one which telcos are also interested in getting involved with, and this deal could be Moto's way in. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), for one, is an investor in 4Home, suggesting future tie-ups between Moto and Big Red could be in the cards. (See Verizon Invests in 4Home.)

Since it is the Mobility half of Moto making the acquisition, it's also safe to assume 4Home's monitoring services will be tightly integrated with future smartphones and tablets from the handset maker. Interestingly, 4Home CEO Leon Hounshell also mentions in the release that the company will continue to tap into "new business segments, such as cable," hinting that 4Home could come into play in Moto's rumored streaming device, set to debut at CES next month. (See Moto to Split in Two on Jan. 4.)

Moto making itself at home wasn't the only deal of the week. In other M&A news:

  • RIM gets a TAT: Not a tattoo, per se, but sort of like that in the user interface sense. BlackBerry is buying Swedish UI developer TAT to complement its latest OS, BlackBerry 6, with a new and improved look. (See RIM Acquires TAT.)

  • Farmville maker plays Scrabble: Gaming company Zynga has snatched up developer NewToy, which is responsible for making the popular Scrabble knock-off Words With Friends, to help it ignite social gaming on mobile. If you've ever been annoyed by Facebook invitations to play Farmville or inundated with Mafia Wars updates, then you're familiar with Zynga. On mobile, the company already has 10 million downloads, but that's nothing compared to the 215 million users it has online.

  • eBay goes shopping: eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) today acquired local shopping search engine Milo for $75 million. The local commerce space is especially hot right now (see the next bullet point), and it gets more interesting when it goes mobile. Milo will be integrated into eBay's mobile platform, meaning that eBay's bar-code-scanning iPhone app RedLaser will soon show local results for on-the-spot shopping as well.

  • Google inking a deal with Groupon: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) appears to be shopping for a good deal -- This acquisition is still just gossip, but as the talks between Google and the coupon site continue, it's looking more likely. The latest figures have the price at $6 billion. [Ed Note: Which is 65 percent off the original!]

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • digits 12/5/2012 | 4:15:39 PM
    re: Deal Watch: Motorola Heads for 4Home

    Yes, indeed. Thanks Lukeeboy...  $75 billion would have been a bit over the top.... figure has been changed.


    Ray 

    Lukeeboy 12/5/2012 | 4:15:39 PM
    re: Deal Watch: Motorola Heads for 4Home

    I guess you meant Ebay acquired Milo for 75 million rather than 75 Billion :)

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