New owner 'evaluating' Horsham plant, 1,000 jobs

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UPDATE: About 1,000 of Motorola Home's 5,000 worldwide engineers, salespeople and support staff are based in Horsham; Arris currently employs 2,100 at its plants. What will happen to them? "We will be evaluating work functions and facilities throughout the organizations as we work through the integration process," Alex Swan, a spokesperson for Arris, told me. "At this point no decisions have been made."  

EARLIER: Arris Group Inc. of Suwanee, Georgia, has agreed to pay Google Inc. $2.05 billion in cash plus $300 million in its own stock for Google's Motorola Home business, including a Horsham factory, labs and offices that makes cable TV set-top boxes and other home data transmission systems for Comcast, Time Warner and other cable TV-based companies. Release here, AP story here.

Although Arris had been named as a likely buyer, the deal and the price, less than some estimates, seems to have surprised investors, with Arris shares trading higher after the announcement late Wednesday. 

The Horsham plant was built by the former General Instruments in the 1990s with Pennsylvania taxpayer support. GI was founded by the late Milton Shapp, the ex-World War US Army Signal Corpsman who built early cable TV antennas at a factory on Philadelphia's Spring Garden Street, financed upstate PA cable systems, and was elected for two terms as Pennsylvania's Governor.

Google bought the business along with Motorola Mobility's larger phone business last year. Google has kept the phone patents and other intellectual property supporting Google Android smartphone system products, but has sold or closed some of Motorola's phone manufacturing plants.

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