Google selling Motorola business to Lenovo

SAN FRANCISCO – Google is selling Motorola Mobility’s smartphone business to Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion.

The deal announced Wednesday will rid Google Inc. of a financial headache that has plagued the company since buying Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion in May 2012. Motorola has lost nearly $2 billion since Google took over while trimming its workforce from 20,000 to 3,800.

Google is retaining most of Motorola’s portfolio of mobile patents, providing the company with legal protection for its widely used Android software for smartphones and tablet computers.

China’s Lenovo Group is picking up about 2,000 Motorola patents in addition to the phone manufacturing operations.