Motorola may halt sale of set-top box business

 

Motorola Inc. may halt the sale of its set-top box business and spin it off with the mobile-phone division into a new publicly traded company, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The company may split its home and networks mobility unit, comprising the set-top box business as well as wireless networking equipment, the newspaper said, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Motorola would continue with an auction of the network gear business, they said.

The home-networking division, the company's largest, accounted for about a third of Motorola's sales last quarter. Motorola had been exploring a possible sale of the that division, three people familiar with the situation have said. Co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Brown said last month a separation of the handset business, which lost more than $3 billion in the past two years, is pushing "full steam ahead."

Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Schaumburg-based Motorola, declined to comment.

The company reported sales of $5.72 billion in the fourth quarter, about 20 percent drop from a year earlier.

Motorola fell as much as 1.5 percent in late trading after rising 9 cents to $6.63 at 4 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have dropped 15 percent this year, after surging 75 percent in 2009.