Motorola to split in two next year

Motorola will be split into two publicly traded companies in the first quarter of next year, with one focusing on handsets and home entertainment devices and the other on making enterprise communications gear, the company said.

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Motorola will be split into two publicly traded companies in the first quarter of next year, with one focusing on handsets and home entertainment devices and the other on making enterprise communications gear, the company said.

The company's two co-CEOs, Sanjay Jha and Greg Brown, will lead the two new entities. Jha was named CEO of Motorola's Mobile Devices and Home businesses, effective immediately. Brown was immediately named CEO of the Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Networks businesses.

The company plans to carry out the separation through a tax-free stock dividend of shares to current shareholders. The Mobile Devices and Home entity will own the Motorola brand and licence it royalty free to the enterprise business, Motorola said.

The board of Motorola supports the breakup plan, according to Motorola's news release.

Motorola today is divided into three businesses: Mobile Devices, Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Home & Networks Mobility. The latter makes TV set-top boxes, end-to-end video systems, and infrastructure for cable, wireline and mobile operator networks. The planned reorganisation would split Home & Networks Mobility, shifting its home systems business to the new cell-phone maker and carrier infrastructure to the enterprise business.

Motorola's handset operation, its biggest business, has been lagging behind other parts of the company as it struggles against growing competitors such as Apple. The company has been talking for years about separating this unit, which competes in the consumer arena, from other Motorola businesses that sell to enterprises and carriers. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the handset business had an operating loss of $132 million, though that was an improvement from a $595 million loss a year earlier.

"As independent companies with focused management and operational and strategic flexibility, each company has a better opportunity for success in their respective industries and the creation of long term shareholder value," Brown said on a conference call following the announcement.

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