Updated: Just after these reports surfaced, Google confirmed that it plans to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. See this story for additional details.
It seems like it was just yesterday that Google acquired Motorola for $12.5 billion. But now Reuters is reporting that China’s Lenovo Group is in the final stages of talks to buy Motorola’s handset division from Google for $3 billion. The report said that an announcement could come as soon as today.
China Daily is reporting the same, though it said the acquisition is “worth at least $2 billion” and “will include more than 10,000 mobile communications patents.” When Google bought Motorola, it claimed the deal was primarily to obtain the company’s patent portfolio. It isn’t clear if all of these patents would be included in the deal.
According to the New York Times, the deal will give Lenovo control of Motorola’s smartphones, including the new Moto X and Moto G.
Motorola has continued to report shrinking revenues, even after Google’s acquisition. Still, this would be a major write-down for the company (though Google did unload Motorola’s set-top box business for $2.35 billion back in 2012). I can see how it makes sense for Lenovo, though. The company already has a strong smartphone presence in China. This deal would expand its reach into markets like the U.S. dramatically.
It is reported that Lenovo is being advices by Credit Suisse, and Google is being advised by Lazard Ltd. According to the Times, sources think the deal will win approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.