Interest In Motorola (MOT) Handset Business Fades

April 2, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

After kicking the tires at Motorola’s (MOT) handset unit China’s Huawei Technologies said it would pass. The Asia-based company is one of the largest makers of handsets in the world. According to Reuters "Huawei said it was not interested in buying the business as it is focused on selling its phones under the brand of its mobile operator customers, while Motorola sells phones to consumers under its own brand."

Although Motorola is silent on the issue, there is every chance that Nokia (NOK), Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have considered making a run. They could pick-up Motorola’s 12% of the global handset market and the 35% it has in the US. This should be especially attractive to Nokia which is trying to improve its share in America.

The invisibility of interest is telling. Experts in the handset field do not think that Motorola’s operation can be fixed, at least not for a long time and by suffering billion of dollars more in losses.

Carl Icahn made a mistake getting into the MOT stock. The company now has a market cap of $21 billion and its home mobility and enterprise units make a lot of money. Motorola can’t give the handset operation away for free.

Douglas A. McIntyre