Motorola Shops Set-top Business

SCHAUMBERG, ILL.: Motorola is exploring the sale if it’s $4.5 billion TV set-top box division, according to published reports. The company has around 27 percent of the global set-top business in cable set-tops and the same marketshare of IP set-tops, In-Stat says. The set-top unit, which includes network gear, had sales of $10.1 billion last year. It’s primary competitor in the set-top arena is Scientific-Atlanta, which is owned by Cisco. Private equity investors and competing set-top makers are said to be looking at the business.

Two potential PE suitors include TPB and Silver Lake Partners, The Wall Street Journal reports. Others include set-top makers Huawei Technologies in China and U.K.-based Pace.

If the division doesn’t sell, Motorola is said to be planning to spin itself into two publicly traded companies. Previous efforts to sell the once-booming handset division have been unsuccessful. Motorola’s last big handset was the Razr. The company recently introduced the iPhone competitor, Droid, but the jury’s still out on that one. WSJ said the set-top business surpassed the handset business this year.