Justice Dept. approves Google's $2.3B sale of Motorola Home

Arris Group is buying the set-top box maker for $2.35 billion, relieving the Web giant of 7,000 employees and a series of patent lawsuits.

The U.S. Department of Justice has given its blessing to Google's sale of the Motorola Home set-top business to Arris Group for $2.35 billion.

Announced Friday, the department's approval was the last regulatory hurdle that the deal faced . The broadband technology provider, which is expected to use the acquisition to enhance the networking equipment it offers to cable providers, expects the deal to close by Wednesday.

Google inherited the unit when it purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year. The unit makes set-top boxes used by cable providers to deliver video, but Google was more interested in Motorola's mobile business, especially its trove of wireless patents, which Google hopes will help defend its Android mobile operating system.

While Motorola's Android smartphones fit into Google's strategy, the set-top box business wasn't an area in which the company was eager to invest too many resources, especially since it didn't appear to offer much to the Web giant's Google TV initiative.

The deal will relieve Google of about 7,000 employees who will transfer to Arris employment, as well as a series of patent infringement lawsuits with TiVo related to digital video recorders that Arris CEO Bob Stanzione has expected to result in a damages claim of "billions of dollars." During negotiations, Google apparently sweetened the sale by promising to cap any liability Arris might face in the event Motorola Home is found to have violated patents owned by DVR maker TiVo.

Under the terms of the deal, Google will receive $2.05 billion in cash and $300 million in newly issued stock, giving it a 15.7 percent ownership stake in Arris upon the deal's closure. The deal will also enable Arris to license a number of Motorola Mobility patents.

 

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