Arris has completed the acquisition of the Motorola Home business from Google for $2.2 billion. It provides Arris with a more complete technology offering from head-end to set-top box. Comcast and Google become shareholders. Google previously bought Motorola Mobility, of which the Home division was a part, for $12.5 billion, and retains the majority of its patent portfolio, together with a loss-making phone and tablet business.
Arris paid Google around $2.2 billion in cash and issued Google with 10.6 million shares of its common stock to acquire the former Motorola subsidiary. The cash consideration was funded through debt and the sale of 10.6 million Arris shares to Comcast Corporation. As a result, Google and Comcast each hold around 7.7% of Arris.
“This acquisition creates a global player in video delivery and broadband technology. We are combining the industry’s top experts and technologies to create a powerful solution for the entire multiscreen delivery chain — from network infrastructure, to transport, to user experience,” said Bob Stanzione, the chairman and chief executive of Arris.
The Motorola Home division was a leading provider of television set-top boxes and digital video recorders. It was part of the Motorola Mobility business that Google bought for $12.5 billion in cash in August 2011.
Google acquired Motorola Mobility primarily for its patent portfolio in order to protect its interests in the Android operating system. Motorola Mobility lost over $1.25 billion under the ownership of Google and shed around 5,000 staff.
Google retains the part of the business that deals with phones and tablets but it seems that despite its ambitions in television and video, not to mention its forays into fibre-optic networks, it had no interest in holding on to the Home division.
Although it offered the potential to bring Android set-top boxes to the mainstream market, it seems the cable guys were not impressed by the idea of Google selling them. Notably the acquisition of Motorola Home is effectively part funded by Comcast, which is by far the main customer of Arris, currently accounting for over 30% of its sales.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, Arris describes itself as a video and broadband technology company. The acquisition of the former Motorola Home division will double the number patents Arris holds or has applied for to nearly 2,000, and provide access via a licence to around 20,000 Motorola Mobility patents held by Google. Under the agreement, Google will also cap any exposure to certain claims of patent infringement, including litigation from TiVo, at $50 million.
Arris faces a much larger rival in Cisco, which closed its acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta in February 2006 for $6.9 billion. Arris recorded sales of $1.35 billion in 2012, with a net profit of $52.5 million. Cisco recorded sales of $46 billion in the year to the end of July 2012, with a net profit of $11.5 billion.