Motorola confirmed speculation that it is considering whether to sell off its mobile handset business as the beleaguered firm continues to review its strategic options in attempt to revive free-falling shareholder value. Motorola said it is currently exploring structural and strategic alignment alternatives, and is looking at separating its Mobile Devices unit in an effort to nurture its other businesses. "All of our businesses have exceptional people, products and intellectual property and the ability to achieve category leadership in their markets," said Motorola president and CEO Greg Brown in a prepared statement. "We are exploring ways in which our Mobile Devices Business can accelerate its recovery and retain and attract talent while enabling our shareholders to realize the value of this great franchise." In the meantime, Brown has assumed direct control of Motorola's handset business.
On average, analysts value Motorola's phone division somewhere between $9 billion and $12 billion, a price tag less than two-thirds of its 2007 mobile sales. Dell, Samsung, Huawei and Sony Ericsson are presently considered the most likely suitors. Ericsson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg is already on record saying his firm would be forced to seriously consider an offer should Motorola put the Mobile Devices unit on the block, but added he would be "very cautious" about approaching a deal, according to InformationWeek.
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