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Silver Lake to invest US$1b in Motorola Solutions

[NEW YORK] Motorola Solutions Inc said private equity firm Silver Lake would invest US$1 billion in the maker of walkie-talkies and radio systems as it looks to boost growth in its services business, which includes video monitoring and data analytics.

Motorola Solutions, whose shares were up 7 per cent in premarket trading, also said it planned a US$2 billion buyback.

The investment is one of the largest ever by Silver Lake, which led a US$24.9 billion deal to take Dell Inc private in 2013.

Silver Lake is buying US$1 billion of convertible senior notes due 2020 with an initial conversion price of US$68.50 per share, Motorola Solutions said on Wednesday.

The private equity firm will get two seats on the company's board when the deal closes, probably in the third quarter.

Motorola Solutions said it expected the investment to boost its business that includes video monitoring, data analytics and content management aimed at "smart policing".

The business accounted for 3 per cent of the net sales of the company's services unit in 2014.

The company - which is unrelated to cellphone and set-top box maker Motorola Mobility, now owned by China's Lenovo Group - has been cutting costs aggressively to offset sluggish sales.

Motorola Solutions' major customers include police and fire departments as well as other government agencies whose budgets have been squeezed in recent years.

Bloomberg reported in April that the company had failed to find a buyer after putting itself up for sale.

Motorola Solutions said on Wednesday that its net sales fell 1.8 per cent to US$1.37 billion in the second quarter ended July 4.

Net income attributable to the company fell to US$142 million, or 68 cents per share, from US$824 million, or US$3.22 per share a year earlier, reflecting the divestiture of the company's enterprise business in October.

Net income from continuing operations rose to 72 cents per share from 30 cents.

Up to Tuesday's close of US$60.22, the company's shares had fallen about 10 per cent this year.