Motorola Looking to Sell Its Largest Division

moto-logoMotorola Inc. is seeking to sell its largest division, which makes equipment for cable and wireless companies, according to a report Wednesday.

The Schaumburg, Ill., company is exploring a sale worth about $4.5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Web site, which cited “people familiar with the matter.”

A Motorola spokeswoman said the company would not comment on “rumor or speculation.”

Potential buyers of the “Home and Network Mobility” unit include private-equity firms and makers of telecommunications equipment like Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and Huawei Technologies Co. of China, the Journal said.

Motorola shares fell 8 cents to close Wednesday at $8.77.

The company has two other divisions. Mobile Devices makes cell phones, and Enterprise Mobility makes police radios, bar code scanners and other equipment for government and corporate use.

The company’s stated long-term plan has been to separate Mobile Devices from the other two divisions. That was originally supposed to happen this year, but the recession and the poor performance of the handset division forced Motorola to postpone that move indefinitely.

Home and Networks Mobility could be more attractive to buyers. Unlike Mobile Devices, it makes money, posting an operating profit of $199 million on sales of $2.1 billion for the third quarter.

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