Game On! Googorola Acquisition Expected to Close on Tuesday.
The deal was a surprise when announced eight months ago but has been a looming reality in recent weeks as the companies received the regulatory nod in one jurisdiction after another.
Motorola said in a regulatory filing Monday that it expects the deal to close by Wednesday, but it looks like it will be sooner than that. S&P’s stock index unit said Monday afternoon that it expects the deal to close before the start of regular trading on Tuesday morning. S&P needs to know these things, of course, because Motorola is part of the S&P 500, at least until Thursday when it will be replaced by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Google was not immediately available for comment.
The deal’s closure was all but inevitable after Chinese antitrust authorities cleared it over the weekend. China was the last roadblock on Google’s eight-month road to regulatory approval, with the deal having already been approved by regulators in the European Union and the U.S. in February.
It’s a deal that has raised some hackles in the process, as Google could potentially play favorites with Motorola by giving early data on the Android operating system to Motorola, one of Google’s many licensed Android handset manufacturing partners. Ostensibly, companies like HTC, Samsung and LG could lose their competitive edge if Google were to give Moto the inside track.
But Google has vehemently denied any notions of favoritism since first announcing the acquisition, stressing that Motorola will continue to be run as a separate business.
That may be more likely after China’s blessing of the deal, considering that it was contingent upon Google keeping Android open to all partner manufacturers for the next five years. That’s especially helpful for Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, both of which have placed big bets on Android.
At the initial acquisition announcement, Google said — and continues to maintain — that the buy was strictly a patent play, a move that in CEO Larry Page’s words would “enable [Google] to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”