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Report: Motorola Eyeing Auction, Spinoff for Key Unit

Motorola Inc. (MOT) is said to be changing its plans for revamping and revitalizing the company.

Quoting sources close to the situation, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Motorola won’t sell its set-top box/mobile device and wireless-networking gear division as one unit. That’s been the intention since 2008. Rather, Motorola likely will cut that group in two by auctioning the wireless business and spinning off the set-top box/handset arm into a new publicly traded company.

If that happens, Motorola will shrink to one-third its current size and reap about $7 billion in sales, compared to $22 billion 2009, the Journal reported. All that would be left is the business that sells public safety equipment and barcode scanners.

The networking unit could net up to $1 billion, according to estimates. It boasts annual sales of about $4 billion.

No matter what, Motorola needs to do something to stem its ongoing financial and market-share losses. The Illinois-based manufacturer did just report a slight profit for the second quarter in a row, but mobile sales disappointed with a 22 percent year-over-year drop. Motorola is having a hard time regaining its lead, which it’s losing to the likes of iPhone maker Apple Inc. and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

The sale-spinoff decision has not been finalized.

Motorola’s shares were trading .15 percent higher at 1:35 p.m. Eastern, reaching $6.64.


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