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Nokia Siemens in talks to buy Motorola unit

15 июля 2010

Motorola, the US mobile phone maker, is in talks to sell its network infrastructure unit to Nokia Siemens Networks in a deal that could be worth about $1.5bn.

Motorola has also held discussions about a sale of the unit to Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, but Nokia Siemens Networks is the frontrunner, said people familiar with the situation.

Nokia Siemens Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone maker, is looking to strengthen its network infrastructure business through acquisitions.

Last year Nokia Siemens Networks tried unsuccessfully to buy a unit of Nortel, the Canadian telecoms equipment maker that filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sweden’s Ericsson bought the Nortel unit, which supplies network equipment to US mobile operators including Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel.

One person familiar with the talks between Motorola and would-be buyers of its network infrastructure business said the unit could be worth $1bn-$1.5bn.

The unit’s customers include Sprint Nextel and China Mobile, the leading Chinese mobile operator. One notable contract is an agreement to provide KDDI, the second-largest Japanese mobile operator, with network infrastructure based on fourth-generation wireless technology called LTE.

Motorola’s infrastructure business is part of a unit that also makes television set-top boxes. The unit recorded sales of $8bn last year, down 21 per cent compared with 2008. Operating profits fell 39 per cent to $558m.

Nokia Siemens Networks declined to comment. It reported sales of €12.6bn ($16.1bn) last year, down 18 per cent compared with 2008, and an operating loss of €1.6bn, partly because of an impairment charge.

Huawei was not available for comment. Motorola declined to comment.

Motorola is planning a group demerger that will result in separate stock market listings for its handset and infrastructure businesses early next year.

Greg Brown, co-chief executive of Motorola, is to lead the company that will consist of the group’s units that make network infrastructure and mobile radio equipment for the emergency services.

Mr Brown wants to retain the mobile radio equipment unit, but is willing to consider selling the infrastructure business.

Huawei is keen to make greater inroads into the US market, having secured significant contracts in Asia and Europe over the past five years.

Источник: Financial Times

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