Motorola Mobility shareholders voted today to allow Google to buy the mobile company.
With approximately 99 percent of shares voting in favor of the deal at today’s special meeting, this acquisition now must pass U.S. government inspection.
Google announced its intention to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion back in August of this year. The proposed deal has seen its share of twists and turns.
One stipulation of the acquisition was that if the deal didn’t pass muster with regulators, Google would be required to pay Motorola Mobility $2.5 billion. This exorbitant fee indicated to some that Motorola Mobility was concerned the sale might not go through due to antitrust concerns and the distinct competitive advantages Motorola Mobility might gain if given certain privileges over other OEMs.
However, Google is very aware of the fine line it walks between a great acquisition deal with one OEM and a soured relationship with all Android OEMs. The company said it will continue to give OEMs such as HTC and Samsung early access to new Android versions on a turn-taking basis, not favoring Motorola over the OEMs it already works with.
One individual, investor John W. Keating, even went so far as to sue Google over the deal, saying, “The offered consideration does not compensate shareholders for the company’s intrinsic value and stand-alone alternatives going forward, nor does it compensate shareholders for the company’s value as a strategic asset for Google.”
One major reason for the deal is the acquisition of patents that might help Google support the Android ecosystem in the courts, where manufacturers and the OS itself are under attack from companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle.
When the Android patent suits began, Google held fewer than 1,000 patents altogether — a staggeringly low number compared to the 20,000 to 40,000 patents held by some of its more aggressive competitors. However, a Motorola Mobility acquisition would provide Android makers with a great deal of legal firepower: The history of cell phones is filled with Motorola firsts. As a result, the company has a rich vein of patents for Google to mine. Motorola Mobility currently holds around 17,000 patents, with an additional 7,500 patents pending approval.
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.