NEW YORK — The long-planned breakup of Motorola, one of the founders of the U.S. electronics industry, came a step closer Monday with a deal to sell most of its wireless networks division.
The deal to sell the division for $1.2 billion to Nokia Siemens Networks, a Finnish-German joint venture, sets up Motorola to separate its cell phone manufacturing operations from its police radio business early next year, essentially dividing the 82-year-old company into three parts.
The parts are aimed at different types of customers. The division whose sale was announced Monday supplies wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless with the equipment they need to connect to cell phones.
Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown said the deal frees the police-radio and bar-code scanner division, which is the leader in its field, from being associated with the networks division, which supplies mainly older-generation equipment and has seen declining sales.
The networks division, which covers most of the business being sold to Nokia Siemens, had revenue of $896 million in the first quarter, with 43 percent of it coming from Asia. Operating earnings were $112 million.
Rajeeve Suri, CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks, said no layoffs were planned. Motorola said about 7,500 employees will be transferred to Nokia Siemens. Of those, about 1,600 are based in Illinois.