Motorola Said in Advanced Talks to Buy U.K.’s Airwave Solutions

Motorola Solutions Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Airwave Solutions Ltd., a U.K. communication services provider, as it seeks to build out its software and services business, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Airwave, which is controlled by Macquarie Group Ltd., could fetch about 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), one of the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. Talks are ongoing and the deal may still fall through, in part due to Airwave’s complex shareholder structure, they said.

Motorola announced a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake Management this month, and said the private-equity firm will help it with strategic partnerships and acquisitions. The communications equipment maker failed to find a buyer earlier this year after seeking to drum up interest from private-equity funds and large industrial companies, people with knowledge of the matter said in April.

Spokesmen for Airwave, Macquarie and Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola declined to comment.

Airwave, based in Slough, England, provides a communications network for the U.K.’s emergency fire, police and ambulance services, according to its website. Macquarie funds agreed to acquire Airwave in 2007 for 1.9 billion pounds.

North American buyers have spent about $96 billion acquiring U.K. companies this year as they continue to seek growth outside their home markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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