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Motorola Buys Another Company for Home & Networks Unit

Motorola Inc. (MOT) is buying another company to add to its Home & Networks Mobility business, the very unit it reportedly wants to sell. On Thursday, the equipment maker said it’s purchasing SecureM LLC, about two months after snapping up BitBand and RadioFrame.

None of the three transaction’s terms has been disclosed.

SecureM operates SecureMedia, a software digital rights management and IP security systems developer. Motorola is heavy into the set-top box and wireless handset fields and will use SecureMedia’s assets to encrypt copyrighted content. As more people use IP products and services such as IPTV and video streaming, movie studios and TV broadcasters want to protect their property from piracy. SecureMedia’s technology, Motorola said, is approved by studios and broadcasters.

“Motorola continues to invest in our video infrastructure solutions as our customers evolve their networks to handle the explosion in consumer demand for video,” John Burke, senior vice president of Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility division, said in a prepared statement. “SecureMedia has superior expertise in IP-based video security and digital rights management – critical capabilities for the emerging Internet era of television, where video content is mobilized across the three screens of TV, mobile phone and PC.”

Of course, this latest acquisition by Motorola calls into question the reports that the company really does want to sell the Home & Networks Mobility arm. In November, the Wall Street Journal said Motorola was exploring a $4.5 billion, with J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group serving as advisers.

The Journal noted the possible sale comes after Motorola tried to spin off its mobile-phone unit, to no avail. But if Motorola is able to sell the home and networks mobility business, the cash boost could help turn the handset division’s frown upside down.

Motorola hasn’t commented on the rumored sale but has told the Journal it “remains committed” to its plan to split into two businesses consisting of mobile devices and broadband mobility.

The home and networks mobility division reported $10.1 billion in sales 2008. In 2009, the unit became Motorola’s largest as the handset side continued to decline.

Motorola’s shares had risen .56 percent by about 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, to $8.015.


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