"Google Inc. wants to sell the unit within Motorola Mobility that provides set-top boxes and other equipment to cable providers and has hired Barclays Plc to seek buyers," Bloomberg LP says here, citing unnamed sources.
"We don't comment on rumor and speculation," Google spokesman Jim Prosser told me.
The Motorola Home unit, based in Horsham, used to employ around 1,000 engineers, salespeople and management staff at its state-financed headquarters, where it developed and built video equipment for Comcast and other customers. Google, which bought the business when it acquired Motorola's mobile phone unit, won't say how many are left. Analysts have estimated Motorola Home's value at around $2 billion.
"Google could expand the number of potential bidders if it opts to split things up," wrote Jeff Baumgartner at Light Reading Cable on Aug. 6. "A company like Pace Plc , for example, might be interested only in Moto's [set-top box] business, while Juniper Networks Inc... might only have eyes for Home's network assets. Ericsson AB, which is said to have much interest in boosting its North American cable presence, may try to buy the whole thing... There appears to be only a small chance that two Chinese interests -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. -- will even be invited to the party...
"Chatter about the fate of Motorola's cable assets has increased ever since cable industry vet Marwan Fawaz was named executive VP of Motorola Home late last month. Fawaz, who once served as a technology analyst for Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures , succeeded Dan Moloney, who most recently served as president of Home."