Barcoder Zebra Buys Motorola’s Enterprise Arm For $3.3bn

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Barcode printer maker buys Motorola Solutions to build am Internet of Things giant

Barcode printer maker Zebra Technologies is buying Motorola Solutions’ enterprise business for $3.3 billion (£1.97bn), according to reports.

The enterprise business makes rugged mobile devices (such as the waterproof TC55, pictured) and tablets, but these have been losing out as some organisations adopt “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, while others simply put purchases of specialised gear on hold during the financial slowdown. The unit was making some improvements, with revenue up from $733 million to $736m in the fourth quarter.

Motorola TC55 (4)Zebra wants Motorola’s enterprise gear

Despite the appeal of general purpose IT, specialised terminals are widely used by the likes of delivery drivers and warehouse staff. Zebra itself has a value of $3.44 billion (£2.06bn) and its printers produce labels for customers including Amazon, according to the Financial Times, which reported the Zebra deal.

Adding in Motorola’s devices, which include barcode scanners, will produce an asset tracking giant. Already, the company is repositioning itself as a player in the “Internet of Things” and will be pushing its RFID and barcode products for more high-tech applications.

In 2012, Motorola Solutions released one of its most unusual products – HC1, a head-mounted computer for engineers and military personnel, which was billed by many as ‘Google Glass for professionals’.

Meanwhile, Motorola’s more well-known phone business, Motorola Mobility, split from the Motorola Solutions arm in 2010 and has been passed from hand to hand since then. Bought by Google for $12.5 billion (£7,7 bn) in 2011, it is now in the process of being sold on to Lenovo. Google made a massive loss, selling it on for just $2.91 billion (£1.76bn), but has kept hold of the most valuable part of that division – its patents.

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