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Moto growth from non-handset units

Motorola has hinted that it will look to grow its enterprise and networks operations – possibly via new acquisitions – once it has completed the spin-off of its mobile phone unit. “When we are independent in 2011, there will be some opportunities for us to do some non-organic things,” said co-CEO Greg Brown in an interview with Bloomberg late last week. Areas for possible acquisitions include security and surveillance, he noted. Motorola said in February its struggling mobile phone unit will merge with the set-top box division to create a combined entity headed by its other CEO, Sanjay Jha. The company is preparing to spin off the new unit in the first quarter of 2011 amid a wider reorganisation. The other business units – which will remain under Brown’s control – have helped Motorola improve its standing in recent quarters. Motorola reported last week that first-quarter sales at its Enterprise Mobility Solutions segment rose 6 percent year-on-year to US$1.7 billion, while earnings improved to US$141 million from US$66 million a year ago. Sales in the Networks segment fell 7 percent to US$896 million, but earnings almost doubled to US$112 million. Brown said that sales at these divisions had been boosted by the so-called 'next-generation' investments by "early mover” US operators such as Verizon Wireless. “4G is going to explode,” Brown said. “I think it will be here sooner than we thought because of the bandwidth demand on existing operators.” However, he did not rule out the possibility of selling the networks business at some point in the future: “If there is an alternate equation or partnership that improves that trajectory even further than what we think, we’d consider it,” he added.

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