Motorola Mobility shareholders clear the way for the Google merger, but the DOJ has yet to weigh in on the deal.
Motorola Mobility (NYSE:
MMI) shareholders have approved the sale of the company to Google, a move that
clears one hurdle out of the search giant's efforts to grow its mobile-computing
capabilities. However, it will be federal regulators who have the final word on
whether the deal will go through, and they have yet to make their decisions.
Motorola Mobility on Nov. 17
announced that at a meeting this week, stockholders voted "overwhelmingly"
to approve the proposed merger with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). About 99
percent of the shareholders voted for the merger agreement.
As announced Aug. 15,
Motorola Mobility and Google announced a plan for Google to buy Motorola
Mobility for about $12.5 billion. Google officials at the time
said they expected the merger to close by the end of 2011 or early 2012,
but added that it is subject to various closing conditions, including
approval by the Department of Justice. When first announced in August, the
transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both
"We are pleased and
gratified by the strong support we have received from our stockholders, with
more than 99 percent of the voting shares voting in support of the
transaction," Sanjay Jha, chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility, said in a
statement. "We look forward to working with Google to realize the significant
value this combination will bring to our stockholders and all the new
opportunities it will provide our dedicated employees, customers and partners."
While Motorola Mobility said
it continues to work to complete the transaction "as expeditiously as
possible," given the schedule of regulatory filings, officials now say
they expect the deal to close in early 2012. However, Motorola
officials also noted that factors outside of Motorola Mobility's control could
delay or spike the deal altogether.
In September, the DOJ issued
a second request for information from Google concerning the merger. The deal
would allow Google to claim Motorola Mobility's 17,000-plus current and 7,500
pending patents, which would provide the company with protection against those
who want to sue Google for patent infringement. Google would also likely use
the company's set-top box business to boost its Google TV service.
David Balto, a former
Federal Trade Commission antitrust official and senior fellow at the
Center for American Progress, said that, if anything, antitrust regulators
may see the deal as a boost to competition. "Android is such a crucial
competitor to the iPhone in particular, that allowing Google to buy Motorola
Mobility will likely produce even more innovation in smartphones and other
devices," he told "ABC News."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.