Moto's in a Buying Mood

NEW ORLEANS -- CTIA Wireless 2005 -- Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is looking to acquire more companies to boost key business areas such as wireless broadband, fixed line, IP networking, and services, a top executive told Unstrung at the CTIA Wireless 2005 show on Tuesday night.

Speaking to Unstrung after the firm's big reception at the show, executive VP Adrian Nemcek said the company wants to expand what he terms its "investment businesses" and that more acquisitions could be in order.

"We've got the strongest balance sheet we've had in a long time," says Nemcek. "And clearly we're in an acquisition mode."

Indeed, Motorola has already started making acquisitions that help add new technologies or capabilities to its lineup, such as the acquisition of MeshNetworks Inc. last November (see Moto Gets Mesh and Moto Moves on Mesh).

Nemcek added that inking more partnership deals could also be an option for the networking big dog. The company already resells gear from Turin Networks Inc. and Movaz Networks Inc.

But Nemcek says that Motorola will probably continue down the path of making smaller acquisitions and partnerships to fill out its portfolio, rather than contemplating a mega-merger with one of its big rivals.

"Obviously, we're keeping our options open," says Nemcek, but echoing the comments of other infrastructure players at the show, he said that such a huge merger would be "challenging" and present lots of corporate integration problems (see Big Vendors Coy on Mergers). "I don't know if anyone wants to go there."

Naturally, Nemcek didn't get any specific about what kind of companies Motorola might try to buy. But, earlier at the presentation proper, he had both good and not-so-good things to say about WiMax.

"Motorola is making a fundamental commitment to the market... It's going to be big," Nemcek told the crowd of analysts, reporters and people who turned up for the free sunglasses Moto was handing out.

But he noted that was a lot of hype about WiMax and that it will still take work and know-how to actually implement the standard: "A lot of technologies are exciting -- in the beginning," Nemcek observed, somewhat dryly.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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