Google has been trying to offload its Motorola Home set-top cable box business, which it acquired with its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility earlier this year, for some time now, but it seems that selling an aging set-top business these days is easier said that done. According to the latest from Bloomberg's sources, the best offers that Google has had for Motorola Home have come from existing set-top manufacturers, and even then, Google may have to help finance the purchase in order to make the deal close.
Bloomberg says that Arris Group and Pace Plc have shown the most interest in Motorola Home and currently have the leading bids in for the company. Arris provides back-end services like telephony and networking equipment to cable providers, while Pace has a set-top box business of its own already. Earlier reports from The Wall Street Journal claimed that Google stood to make between $1.5b and $2.5b from the sale of Motorola Home, but now the company may be having to provide financing options to prospective buyers just to offload the thing. The WSJ also noted that Pace and Arris were front-runners for the purchase when Google was entertaining offers last week.
Google's trying hard to offload Motorola's Home business
From the outset, it was quite apparent that Google's interest in Motorola was just for the mobile business and its related patents, but it was not so obvious that Google would find it difficult to sell the Home Business once everything was under its control. It is interesting to note that the companies most interested in Motorola Home are not consumer electronics manufacturers, but companies that are already entrenched in the cable services market. Translation: it doesn't look like Samsung, Apple, and the like have an interest in entering the traditional cable set-top business any more than they already are. With the future of living room entertainment leaning further and further away from the traditional cable services model, it's hard not to blame them. Even if Google is able to recoup a couple of billion dollars from its investment in Motorola, it seems that the company just wants to offload the set-top business more than anything else.