Update: Motorola and Google have both confirmed the acquisition of Motorola by Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Google will, however, retain the “vast majority” of Motorola’s patents. Google CEO Larry Page says that Motorola will be better unitized and more beneficial to Lenovo. This will also give Google more time to drive “innovation across the Android ecosystem.” The deal still has to pass regulatory approval in China and the U.S., and until then, Google says it is business as usual for the two companies.
According a tweet from Reuters reporter Gerry Shih, Lenovo is nearing completion on a deal to purchase Motorola from Google for around $3 billion. A report from China Daily news corroborates Reuters, but claims the deal is closer to the $2 billion mark. China Daily claims that the deal will be announced to the public Thursday morning in Beijing, which is just a few hours from now. Google is also holding an earnings call tomorrow, so it’s very possible that the information will officially drop during the call.
TechCrunch has “confirmed reports” of the acquisition, saying the terms of the deal have not yet been revealed, but that it was around $3 billion. It’s also important to note that the deal includes Motorola Mobility, which Google paid $12.5 billion for, not the entire Motorola company.
Google purchasesd Motorola Mobility in 2011 for around $12.5 billion, meaning that if this deal goes through, the company would be taking around a $10 billion hit. Of course, Motorola has been a money-loser for Google, reporting a $248 million operating loss in the third quarter of 2013. Google will presumably keep the patents acquired in the original sale, however, so it’s more than likely that will make up for a good portion of the $10 billion. At the time of purchase in 2011, Google valued Motorola’s patent portfolio at $5.5 billion. Google also made $2.35 billion back when it sold Motorola Home to Arris in 2012.
Since the original deal was finalized, Motorola has been operating independently from Google, although things have changed drastically for Motorola over the past year. The company released the flagship Moto X, as well as the budget-oriented Moto G.
Google and Samsung recently finalized a 10 year patent licensing deal which, according to a report from Re/Code, could bring Samsung’s vision for Android more along the lines of Google’s AOSP designs. The report claims that future Samsung devices could see significantly reduced amount of bloat. In the patent deal, the two companies agreed to license each other’s patents for the next 10 years.
Motorola is also holding a deal until Valentine’s Day that significantly cuts the price of its flagship Moto X. The sale could very well be a way to liquidate inventory of the device.
We’ve reached out to Google for a comment.