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Google has found a buyer for the Motorola Home set-top box business. Cable-equipment maker Arris Group will buy the business unit for $2.35 billion in a cash and stock deal.
PCMag's Angela Moscaritolo reported, "Google is selling off Motorola Mobility's set-top box division, Motorola Home, to Arris Group for $2.35 billion, the companies announced Thursday. The deal, which has been approved by both companies' boards, is expected to close by the second quarter of 2013. Under the agreement, Google will receive $2.05 billion in cash when the transaction closes, as well as approximately $300 million in Arris shares, giving Google a 15.7 percent stake in the company."
Bloomberg's Danielle Kucera and Aaron Ricadela noted, "Google, which acquired the division through the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. in May, received multiple offers on Dec. 7, a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. Google sought a buyer for the home unit as it aims to devote more attention to mobile devices amid an accelerating rivalry with Apple Inc. (AAPL). 'Google never really wanted the set-top box business,' Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group in Portland, Oregon, said in an interview. 'What they wanted were the mobile patents. It was very clear this wasn’t why they were buying the business in the first place.'"
ZDNet's Josh Taylor added, "Motorola Home has 5,000 employees in 18 locations, and over 500 customers in 70 countries. Arris, which has traditionally been focused on network infrastructure and telecommunications equipment, will now pick up Motorola Home's network infrastructure division and set top box devices."
According to TechCrunch's Anthony Ha, Google sweetened the deal by promising to cap Arris Group's liability in a lawsuit TiVo has filed against Motorola Home. "The threat of a huge patent lawsuit would probably cast a cloud over any acquisition talks, but [Arris CEO Bob] Stanzione said Google has actually agreed to cap Arris’ liability in the case to 'a very small number.' He didn’t say what that number was, but when one of the analysts on the call asked if Arris might be liable for $1 billion in damages, Stanzione laughed and suggested that it was much lower than that — and he added that TiVo won’t necessarily win the case."