Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA) has agreed to purchase Motorola Solutions' (NYSE: MSI) enterprise business unit for $3.45 billion in an all-cash transaction.
"This acquisition will transform Zebra into a leading provider of solutions that deliver greater intelligence and insights into our customers' enterprises and extended value chains," said Anders Gustafsson, Zebra CEO. "It positions Zebra as a leading technology innovator, with the accelerating convergence of mobility, data analytics and cloud computing."
The pairing will expand Zebra's geographic reach as the combined company will have roughly 20,000 channel partners in more than 100 countries, and a robust portfolio of intellectual property.
It also provides Zebra with a partner to further develop and roll out Zatar, a cloud-based software service and solution that leverages the "Internet of Things." Zebra debuted Zatar in October 2013.
The cloud-based software "is like a Facebook page for devices," Phil Gerskovich, senior VP of new growth platforms at Zebra told FierceRetailIT. Retailers and brands can build a home page or avatar for each device, and a mobile app communicates via beacons, GPS or signals in stores. The result mirrors the movie "Minority Report."
"We think the environment should change and the phone should stay in your pocket," said Gerskovich. Displays in the store communicate with a mobile app, recognize the user is close and the phone updates the avatar in Zatar.
Zebra plans to roll out pilots over the next 12 months, to test Zatar and better position the technology in a positive and not creepy way to shoppers. "It's not a technical barrier but a marketing position," Gerskovich said.
The marriage of Zebra and Motorola Solutions could help speed Zatar's development and release.
Combined, Zebra Technologies with Motorola's Enterprise business would have had pro-forma sales in 2013 of approximately $3.5 billion. Motorola Solutions will retain its iDEN product portfolio that was part of its Enterprise business and will continue its Government business, including its professional commercial radio product portfolio.
The transaction, which was approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
-See this Zebra Technologies press release
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