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World's third biggest smartphone maker born as Lenovo buys Google's Motorola arm in shock $3bn deal

In a surprise announcement, Google has said it will sell the Motorola Mobility smartphone business to Lenovo for approximately $2.91 billion (£1.75bn).

The move is intended to strengthen Lenovo's position in the smartphone market, particularly across North America, Latin America, and Western Europe. The deal includes the Motorola brand and Motorola Mobility's smartphone portfolio - devices like the Moto X (pictured with Google chairman Eric Schmidt, top) and Moto G. Lenovo will take ownership of the future Motorola Mobility product roadmap.

Related: Motorola Moto X review

Google, however, will hold on to the "vast majority" of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, including current patent applications and invention disclosures. Google will license this technology to Lenovo, but Lenovo will get more than 2,000 patent assets.

The deal includes $660 million (£398m) in cash and $750 million (£453m) in Lenovo ordinary shares; the remaining $1.5 billion (£905m) will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note.

"The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones. We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space," Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said in a statement. "We are confident that we can bring together the best of both companies to deliver products customers will love and a strong, growing business.

Current Motorola chief Dennis Woodside said that "with the recent launches of Moto X and Moto G, we have tremendous momentum right now and Lenovo's hardware expertise and global reach will only help to accelerate this."

Google CEO Larry Page, meanwhile, said the sale "will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere."

Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business and brand in 2005, which Yuanqing said proves that Lenovo "has a proven track record of successfully embracing and strengthening great brands."

In 2011, Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion (£7.5bn) in order to "supercharge" Android. The first major release for Motorola Mobility under the Google umbrella was the Moto X, which hit the US in August 2013 and finally arrived in the UK this January. Though it was well-received by the tech community, some reports seem to indicate that the device has yet to really take off with consumers.