(Updates with analyst’s comment in fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., the mobile-phone maker that has agreed to be acquired by Google Inc., reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as sales of its flagship Droid phone climbed.
Earnings, excluding some charges related to the Google deal, were 12 cents a share, compared with an average estimate of 6 cents in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Sales climbed 11 percent to $3.26 billion, the Libertyville, Illinois-based company said in a statement today. Analysts had forecast $3.39 billion.
Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha has rebuilt the handset maker around Google’s Android operating system, which has become the fastest-growing smartphone platform in the past year. He is working to differentiate his products from those of Android rivals, including Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and LG Electronics Co.
“They’re still subscale compared to Samsung and HTC but life is about to change with Google,” said Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC in Boston.
Motorola Mobility shipped 4.8 million smartphones among 11.6 million devices overall last quarter. Thornton, who rates Motorola Mobility “neutral,” had estimated 4.9 million and 12.4 million respectively.
Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility in August for $12.5 billion, gaining access to mobile patents and moving into the hardware business. CEO Larry Page said the company would use Motorola Mobility’s more than 17,000 patents to protect Android supporters in licensing and legal disputes with rivals such as Apple and Microsoft Corp.
Motorola shareholders will vote on the acquisition Nov. 17.
Android’s share of the U.S. smartphone market climbed to 44 percent in the quarter through August, up from 38 percent three months earlier, according to Comscore Inc. Apple Inc.’s iOS rose 0.7 percentage points to 27.3 percent while Research In Motion Ltd.’s share fell to 20 percent from 25 percent.
Sales at Motorola Mobility’s mobile devices business climbed 20 percent to $2.4 billion, while revenue from its home unit which sells TV set-top boxes fell 10 percent to $825 million.
The company’s net loss narrowed to $32 million, or 11 cents a share, from a loss of $34 million a year earlier.
Motorola Mobility rose 0.3 percent to $39.02 at the close in New York and has gained 34 percent this year.
--Editors: Peter Elstrom, Ville Heiskanen
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