Google to sell part of Motorola for $2.35 billion
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is selling Motorola Mobility's TV set-top business for $2.35 billion, lightening the load that the Internet search leader took on earlier this year when it completed the biggest acquisition in its history.
The cash-and-stock deal announced late Wednesday will turn over Motorola's set-top division to Arris Group Inc., a relatively small provider of high-speed Internet equipment that is looking to become a bigger player in the delivery of video. Investors applauded the move, driving up Arris' stock by nearly 17 percent.
Google's decision to jettison the set-top boxes comes seven months after the Mountain View, Calif., company took control of Motorola Mobility Holdings in a $12.4 billion purchase.
The set-top boxes were never a big allure for Google, although the company is interested in finding ways to pipe its service on to TVs so it can sell more advertising.
Google prized Motorola for its portfolio of more than 17,000 mobile patents. Those form an arsenal that it can use in a fierce battle that has broken out over intellectual property as smartphones and tablet computers have emerged as hot commodities in recent years.
Motorola also makes smartphones and tablets, a manufacturing business that Google will retain, despite lingering concerns on Wall Street about the hardware shrinking Google's profit margins and possibly alienating other device makers that use the company's Android software.
Besides not being a natural fit for Google, Motorola's set-top box also has become a potentially expensive liability. Digital video recorder pioneer TiVo Inc. is seeking billions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit alleging that Motorola's boxes infringed on its patents. Those claims are scheduled to go to trial next year in federal court in Texas.
Although they declined to provide specifics, Arris Group executives told analysts in a Wednesday conference call that Google still must cover most of the bill for any damages or settlement that TiVo might win.
TiVo already has negotiated about $1 billion in combined settlements in other patent-infringement cases it has brought against other companies, including Dish Network Corp., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications.
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