TechCrunch has confirmed reports that Lenovo is buying Motorola Mobility from Google. This is the division within Google that the company purchased in 2011 for $12.5 billion. Motorola Mobility will go to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
Of that $2.91 billion, $1.41 billion will be paid at the close of the deal. $660 million will be comprised of US cash and $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares. The remaining $1.5 billion will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note.
Google will maintain ownership of the vast majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio. Lenovo will still receive 2,000 patent assets and the Motorola Mobility brand and trademark.
According to a separate report published by Reuters, Lenovo is being advised by Credit Suisse Group while Lazard Ltd advised Google on the transaction.
“As part of Lenovo, Motorola Mobility will have a rapid path to achieving our goal of reaching the next 100 million people with the mobile Internet. With the recent launches of Moto X and Moto G, we have tremendous momentum right now and Lenovo’s hardware expertise and global reach will only help to accelerate this,” said Dennis Woodside, CEO, Motorola Mobility, in a released statement.
According to our source, Google wanted to dump the asset for some time. The company had to hold off selling the division for tax reasons.
Motorola Mobility’s performance has yet to live up to its purchase price. Since Motorola split and its consumer division went to Google, it has been a constant source of red ink. Motorola lost quite a lot of money: $248 million in the last quarter alone. Google sums this well, noting that the loss was “-21% of Motorola Mobile segment revenues.” Motorola lost $192 million in the year-ago quarter, so the trend here isn’t positive.
Google previously sold off the cable box division of Motorola Mobility for $2.4 billion.
This comes just weeks after Google purchased the hot hardware startup Nest. Since then, Nest’s role in the budding conglomerate that Google is turning into has been widely speculated about. With Motorola gone, Nest’s superstar team that includes many former Apple engineers seemingly has an empty playground.
It seems this complete’s Lenovo’s quest for an established cell phone business. It was rumored back in October that the company submitted a bid for BlackBerry. That deal clearly didn’t pan out.
Simply buying its way to the top worked for Lenovo in the past. In 2005 Lenovo purchased IBM’s personal computer division for $1.25 billion. That purchase alone caused Lenovo to be the world’s third-largest computer maker. But, using the established brand, Lenovo scaled the PC division to become the largest shipper of PCs in the world. In the last months of 2013 Lenovo overtook HP.
Just last week, Lenovo announced a plan to buy IBM’s x86 server business for $2.3 billion.
As the dust settles on this deal, it’s clear that Google took a large loss on its venture with Motorola Mobility. Google acquired an established brand with a vast portfolio of patents, a mature distribution system and a knowledgeable manufacturing arm. Even after pouring money and resources into the historic American brand, Google couldn’t make lemonade with Motorola. Maybe Lenovo, the now-leader in personal computers, will have better luck.
More as we get it.