Britain's Pace approaches Google over Motorola Home

Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:57pm EST
 

By Kate Holton and Alexei Oreskovic

LONDON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - British TV decoder maker Pace Plc said on Monday that it had made an early-stage proposal to Internet group Google Inc to acquire its set-top TV box maker Motorola Home.

"Discussions with Google are currently at a preliminary stage and there is no certainty as to whether any agreement regarding any transaction will be reached," Pace said in a statement.

The offer is one of several bids for the unit, including from private equity firms, that Google received on Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Google acquired the set-top box maker as part of its $12.5 billion acquisition in May of Motorola Mobility, which was largely motivated by a desire to snap up its large portfolio of communications patents.

Since acquiring Motorola, Google has moved to revamp the company's loss-making mobile phone business, while appearing less interested in the set-top business.

"It's a fine business, it's just not core to Google," said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.

Motorola and Cisco Systems Inc's Scientific Atlanta dominate the U.S. market for cable television set-top boxes and for the back-end infrastructure that manages the transmission of video signals to the boxes, said Wieser.

He estimated that the Motorola's home business could fetch "in the billions" of dollars, depending on how the deal is structured, such as whether patents are included.   Continued...

 
A woman walks past the Google Chicago headquarters logo in Chicago, March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young