Yesterday’s news that Motorola (MOT) was breaking the business into two pieces sent the stock exactly nowhere. It has occurred to Wall St. that the company’s large handset division may be worth very little. Optimists say that it had $19 billion in revenue last year and lost only about $1 billion. Realists would say that the revenue number is falling and that no one wants to buy the business.
With all of this as a backdrop, The Wall Street Journal says that Nokia (NOK) is making an aggressive move into the US market. Worldwide, Nokia has 40% of the handset market. In the US, that number is only 10%. On a global basis, Motorola has 14% of the market. In the US, that number jumps to 35%.
Word is that Nokia is working with AT&T (T) and other big cellular carriers to get more phones into the American market. It is even designing handsets which it thinks will sell better here.
With the leverage which goes with scale, Nokia has a real chance of picking up a lot of customers in the US, especially if it can co-opt the cellular companies.
All of this means that, over the next year or two, the intrinsic value of Motorola will drop. Instead of being a $10 stock down from 52-week high of almost $20, it may approach the date of its break-up trading at $5.
Douglas A. McIntyre