Schaumburg, Ill.-based wireless giant Motorola agreed Tuesday to a $3.9 billion
deal to acquire Symbol of Holtsville, N.Y.
With a little pruning and grafting, some analysts see opportunities for the combined company.
In a research note Tuesday, JPMorgan analyst Ehud Gelblum says Motorola could drop what's not working at Symbol and work on what's up and coming in wireless.
Specifically, Motorola could close down Symbol's disappointing RFID unit and build WiMax capabilities into Symbol's already strong wireless-device arsenal.
"We see little strategic value for Motorola with respect to Symbol's nascent RFID business, which we believe is currently generating losses," Gelblum wrote.
Symbol has had little success in translating its dominance in bar-code readers and inventory systems into a leadership role with radio frequency inventory identification. Closely held upstarts like OatSystems as well as big gearmakers like
were able to capitalize on the emerging RFID market, but Symbol failed to live up to expectations for the big tech shift.
One area, however, that's likely to appeal to tech fans is the not-fully-standardized technology known as Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access, or WiMax. Like its hot-spot kin WiFi, WiMax holds promise as an access technology that provides even faster and broader mobile Net connections.
With WiMax gaining momentum through efforts by service providers like closely held Clearwire and
, Motorola could seize an even bigger opportunity as an infrastructure supplier, Gelblum writes.
"We also believe that Motorola could integrate WiMax into Symbol devices, thereby producing an enterprise endpoint solution to match its WiMax network solution," Gelblum writes.
Motorola shares dipped 8 cents to $24.87, and Symbol rose 3 cents to $14.70 in late-morning trading Tuesday.