Google is closing its auction of Motorola’s set-top box business, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company had set a deadline of December 7 for the last round of bids, according to three people involved in the process.
Google August 2012 hired Barclays Plc to seek buyers for Motorola, which has been losing market share to players such as Pace. Motorola tried unsuccessfully to sell the business in 2009 for $4.5 billion. The emergence since then of devices such as Apple TV and Roku is likely to drive the price tag even lower, with suggestions that the Home Business unit might fetch about $2 billion.
Broadband equipment specialist Arris Group and private-equity firms are tipped as bidders, along with Pace and Technicolor.
Google is considering keeping intellectual property related to the business, according to WSJ sources, which would leave the buyer with the hardware technology. Motorola and TiVo are currently involved in patent litigation, leading one analyst to suggest that it may be preferable for Google to acquire TiVo.
Google completed the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in May, but as far back as March 2012, the New York Times suggested that Google would seek such a sale once the deal was complete.
Earlier in August, Google announced it would cut 4,000 Motorola staff and close about a third of its 90 facilities as part of a plan to restore the company’s leadership in the mobile market.