Motorola Struggling To Spin Off Handset Unit

The company has been alternately working to spin off its home and networks mobility division and making efforts to reinvigorate it.
Motorola's perennial efforts to break itself up by spinning off its units has run into a perennial problem: a buyer at an acceptable price for its home and networks mobility division can't be found, according to media reports.

Ever since financier-raider Carl Icahn began pressuring Motorola to break itself up three years ago, the company has been talking to telecom equipment companies and private equity funds about dismantling itself. The latest suitors are China's Huawei Technologies and Arris Group, according to a report in Friday's < i>Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources who said the offered bids between $3 and $4 billion were below Motorola's hopes for the unit.

For several months, the company has said it wants to separate its mobile handsets unit from the remainder of the company. In 2008, Motorola delayed spinning off the mobile handset unit and it concentrated on bringing the operation back from its once-market dominant position.

Initially, Motorola planned to sell off its mobile handset division, but when no acceptable suitors materialized, it focused in reviving the operation by hiring Jha from Qualcomm with hopes of turning around the operation. Since then, it has been working to spin off the home and networks mobility division. Motorola has also been seeking to spin off its set-top box operation, but hasn't reported the receipt of any acceptable bids to date.

In recent months Motorola has focused on reinvigorating its mobile handset unit under Jha, CEO of the operation. Focusing on smartphones and particularly on Google's Android platform, Motorola has showed renewed success in the market, but its market share is still languishing.

The Reuters news service has reported that private equity funds have been talking with Motorola about bidding on some of the firm's operations. Among those interested were said to be Bain Capital, TPG Capital, Blackstone Group, KKR, Silver Lake Partners, and THL partners. A new round of bids for Motorola's home and networks mobility division was originally set for mid-February, according to various media reports.

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