Google is reportedly looking to offload its recently acquired Motorola Mobility division to the Chinese smartphone maker Lenovo, according to reports Wednesday afternoon.
Sources told Reuters and China Daily that Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992) is looking to purchase the handset maker from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). According to China Daily, the deal could be announced as soon as tomorrow. Reuters suggests the deal is worth nearly $3 billion. China Daily pegs it at it more than $2 billion.
Buying Motorola Mobility would give Lenovo a much bigger operation in the US. For Google, it would be a way to offload a unit that's been operating at a loss, though the Android maker would also have to give up the division's 10,000 patents. Google acquired Motorola Mobility in 2012 for $12.5 billion. (See Android's Chinese Challengers and Google Closes $12.5B Motorola Deal.)
UPDATE: Google officially announced the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Google will retain ownership of the "vast majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, including current patent applications and invention disclosures." Lenovo will receive a license to the patents and other IP, along with 2,000 patent assets and the Moto brand and trademark portfolio, the companies said.
In a blog post, Google CEO Larry Page wrote that the sale would allow Google to devote its energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem:
- Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem. They have a lot of experience in hardware and they have global reach. In addition, Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity -- just as they did when they acquired ThinkPad from IBM in 2005.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading