Motorola has agreed to pay $3.9 billion in cash to purchase enterprise mobility solutions vendor Symbol Technologies, the companies announced yesterday.

With its position as a leader in RFID, VoIP, wireless LAN networking and data-capture technologies, Symbol was attractive to Motorola, which has long viewed enterprise mobility as a key component to the company’s long-term strategy, said Motorola Chairman and CEO Ed Zander.

“It really ties into seamless mobility; it’s a dead-on hit on what our strategy’s about,” Zander said in an analyst conference call yesterday. “We wanted to be front and center in this space. In more ways than one, Symbol gives us that.”

Indeed, combining the product lines of Motorola and Symbol will give the company an “unprecedented” portfolio to address the needs of the enterprise market, said Greg Brown, president of Motorola’s networks and enterprise business. Symbol’s expertise in wireless technologies inside buildings complements Motorola’s wide area network capabilities, he said.

“Symbol is our ideal partner,” Brown said. “By combining our complementary strengths, assets and expertise, we’re staking a clear claim on enterprise mobility today.”
Still subject to customary regulatory and Symbol stockholder approval, the deal is expected to be completed late this year or early in 2007. At that time, Symbol will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola and will be the “cornerstone” of Motorola’s networks and enterprise business. Motorola will maintain Symbol’s Holtsville, N.Y., headquarters.

Symbol Technologies President and CEO Sal Iannuzzi expressed optimism about the potential of the combined company. In addition, Iannuzzi said recent media reports indicating that Symbol effectively conducted an auction for the company were inaccurate.

“There was absolutely no auction—Symbol was never put out on the block,” Iannuzzi said.