Lenovo officially buys Motorola Mobility, is now the no. 3 smartphone vendor in the world

It’s official: On Thursday, Lenovo announced that it had purchased Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion. The deal was first announced in January.

After combining Lenovo and Motorola handset sales, the new company appears poised to become the third-largest smartphone maker by number of units shipped, bypassing Lenovo’s Chinese rival Xiaomi.

Back in January, after the plans to purchase Motorola became public, Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanquing said, “We can sell 100 million units every year in the smartphone market.”

Lenovo said it plans to operate Motorola as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and Motorola’s headquarters will remain in Chicago. It’s not surprising that Lenovo would regard U.S.-based Motorola operations as an asset: When Lenovo bought the Thinkpad laptop line from IBM, it also received a Morrisville, North Carolina office that is now used as the company’s North American headquarters.

[company]Lenovo[/company] is also in the process of acquiring IBM’s server business.

[company]Google[/company] got what it wanted out of its short ownership of Motorola: Patents. According to Lenovo, Google will “maintain ownership of the vast majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio,” although Lenovo will receive over 2,000 patents of its own and enter into a cross-licensing agreement with Google for the rest.

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It’s unclear how Lenovo plans to merge the Motorola branding and product lineup into its own. As part of the announcement, Motorola’s logo was (subtly) tweaked. Lenovo phones are popular where Motorola phones are not sold, like China, and Motorola phones are primarily sold in places where Lenovo handsets are hardly available, like the United States.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Lenovo is planning to create a new smartphone brand that focuses on selling handsets online in China, in order to take on new low-cost competitors like Xiaomi and Oppo.