Lenovo is indeed buying the Motorola handset business from Google.
Google will retain most of Motorola’s patent holdings, with Lenovo gaining access to 2,000 patents, the Motorola brand and product portfolio, the two companies said. Lenovo will pay roughly $2.91 billion, with $1.41 billion in cash and stock due when the deal closes. The additional $1.5 billion will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note, the companies said.
Selling Motorola could ease pressure on Google from Android handset makers, especially Samsung, as well as from regulators.
For Lenovo, it marks a continued expansion into mobile and is the second big U.S. brand acquired by the Chinese company. It bought IBM’s ThinkPad PC business back in 2005 and just recently said it would buy IBM’s low-end server business as well.
Google, meanwhile, will take a big loss on Motorola, having paid upward of $12 billion for the company only a couple years back, though it did recoup $2.3 billion by selling a cable modem and set-top box unit.
In a statement, Google CEO Larry Page said the move will allow Google to put its focus back on the broader Android effort.
“Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem,” Page said. “This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”
A Motorola representative declined comment on the future of Dennis Woodside, the former Google executive brought in as Motorola’s CEO.
A conference call to discuss the deal is set for 2:30 pm PT and Re/code will have live coverage.
More details to come.
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