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Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for USD 2.91 bn

Houston: After 22 months of being together, search engine giant Google has decided to part ways with Motorola by entering into an agreement to sell it to Lenovo for USD 2.91 billion, the company announced Wednesday.


A person holds a Motorola smartphone. Pic: AFP

Google will keep the "vast majority" of around 17,000 patents it acquired when it bought Motorola in 2012 for USD 12.5 billion.

Google has struggled to compete in the cut throat phone-hardware business its share of the world-wide smartphone market fell to about 1% last year from 2.3 per cent a year earlier, according to research firm IDC.

Google's stock was up over 2 per cent in after-hours trading shortly after the announcement. Motorola has been running semi-independently from Google since the acquisition went through.
Last year, Motorola released its first flagship phone, the Moto X, since becoming a Google company.

The Moto X was well-reviewed, but it's unclear how many were sold. Motorola has steadily been dropping the Moto X's price since the launch last fall. In Q3 2013, Motorola revenues stood at USD 1.18 billion, down from USD 1.78 billion for the same quarter a year ago.

Google will report earnings for Q4 2013 on Thursday afternoon. The deal also signals the rising ambitions of Lenovo, which is seeking to be a bigger player in the global technology market.

The purchase of Motorola will probably also put to rest rumours of Lenovo purchasing BlackBerry, at least for the time being, experts feel.

The deal has yet to be approved in the US or China, and this usually takes time. Google had earlier sold off Motorola's cable box business (the home division) for USD 2.5 billion. (MORE) TI

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