Motorola to Buy Symbol Technologies for $3.9 Billion

Motorola Inc. (MOT) on Tuesday said it agreed to buy Symbol Technologies Inc. (SBL), a maker of bar code and inventory scanning technology, for about $3.9 billion to boost sales of wireless handheld devices to corporate customers.

Motorola, the world's second-biggest handset maker, said it would pay $15 per share, a slight premium over Symbol's Monday closing price of $14.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Symbol makes bar code scanners, such as those found in supermarkets, as well as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that store product information in tiny microchips that can be scanned to keep close track of inventory.

Motorola said it expected the deal to close in late 2006 or early 2007, and to add to earnings in the first year following closing.

Analysts said Symbol's scanners, RFID tags and rugged handheld computing devices would complement Motorola's computing systems for retail, transportation and health-care markets.

"We like this transaction because it should more than double Motorola's presence in the mobile enterprise market, while being accretive to earnings," Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Lawrence Harris said in a note to clients.

Motorola said the acquisition of Symbol, which will keep its Holtsville, New York, headquarters, would not affect the pace of Motorola's share repurchase activity.

"This transaction significantly advances Motorola's enterprise mobility strategy and is consistent with our focus on building on our already strong intellectual property portfolio," Motorola Chief Executive Ed Zander said in a statement.

Motorola shares closed on Monday at $24.95, after hitting a nearly six-year high of $25.55 earlier in the session.