Videocon, Motorola negotiate handset take-over

India's Videocon Group is in initial talks about buying the handset business of Motorola, a Reuters report said.

The company is also looking at the possibility of bidding for General Electric's appliances division, media reports said.

'The talks with Motorola are at a very initial stage,' Videocon Industries' chairman and managing director Venugopal Dhoot, quoted by the Reuters report, said.

In April, Dhoot had told Reuters that group flagship Videocon Industries, which has a market capitalization of €1.3 billion (US$2.1 billion) according to Reuters data, would bid for the handset unit of Motorola if the US firm decided to sell the business.

The US firm has announced its plans to split into two publicly traded entities in 2009, separating its mobile phone unit from the rest of the business that makes television set-top boxes and network equipment.

The Press Trust of India also reported that Dhoot was looking at a possible bid for General Electric's appliances division, having received a memorandum from GE which was now being studied.

'There is a non-disclosure agreement with the merchant banker and I cannot comment on that,' Dhoot said. He did not comment on the Motorola talks.

GE said in May that it may either sell or spin-off its century-old appliances unit, which generated €4.4 billion (US$7.2 billion) in revenue last year.

The consumer electronics and home appliances segment of Videocon Industries generated consolidated revenues of €1.6 billion (US$2.6 billion) for its fiscal year ended September 2007.

Last week, Dhoot said Videocon had been approached by Middle Eastern telecom firms Emirates Telecommunications and Qatar Telecom for tie-ups in India.