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Motorola: Piecing Together The 'Home Media Hub'

Motorola  is as hungry as ever for acquisitions. The latest it announced today: DSL services company Netopia for $208 million. The Schaumburg, IL-based telecom supplier said the deal furthers its vision for seamless mobility in the home.

The acquisition is just the latest in a string of deals by Motorola, the most recent the buyout of privately-held BlackBerry rival Good Technology. In September, Motorola paid $3.9 billion for Symbol Technologies , a leading maker of handheld RFID  readers.

Like the Good buy, aimed at bolstering Motorola's Q device, today's purchase is viewed as strengthening the company's connected home unit.

Acquiring Netopia, already supplying DSL modems, routers and gateways to carriers AT&T , Verizon and others, enables Motorola to offer a full suite of DSL gear, including home media hubs, voice gateways and IP set-top boxes, according to a statement.

"Telcos are extremely focused on IPTV," Yankee Group analyst Nicole Klein told internetnews.com. With Netopia a big player in IPTV, today's acquisition also makes Motorola a leading name in the space as well.

While Netopia is a DSL company, the purchase widens Motorola's already strong band name in the cable modem market to copper-based broadband, Klein said.

As part of the transaction - expected to be final early next year -- Motorola will pay $7 per share of outstanding Netopia stock. The Emeryville, Calif. company becomes a subsidiary of Motorola and part of its Connected Home Solutions unit. Additionally, Alan Lefkof, president and CEO of Netopia, will report to Dan Moloney, President of the broadband home department, according to Motorola.

"Motorola and Netopia share a common vision of the connected home as the hub for seamless mobility," Moloney said in a statement. The executive said adding Netopia people, technology and marketing expertise will strengthen the unit's standing as a leading worldwide telecom supplier.

"Netopia already complements the services we already provide telcos," Peter Alfieri, a Motorola spokesperson, said.

"More importantly is Netopia's management system which will manage not only the gateways but also the devices connected to the gateways like the set top boxes Motorola offers," In-Stat IPTV analyst Michelle Abraham, explained. Netopia's headquarters becomes the center of Motorola's voice and data customer premises gear business.