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Alphabet tried to sell connected home division Nest last year, says report

  • Google, which bought Nest for $3.2 billion in 2014, tried to sell the maker of internet-connected home hardware in 2016, a report says.
  • Nest founder and former CEO Tony Fadell left last year too, and former workers there reportedly complained of less freedom since then.
  • Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent Alphabet, has been selling off businesses in its money-losing Other Bets category.

Tony Fadell
Craig Barritt | Fast Company | Getty Images
Tony Fadell

Google looked to sell its Nest connected-home unit in 2016, just two years after buying the high-profile startup for $3.2 billion, according to Reuters.

Alphabet had an internal project known as Project Amalfi, that looked to sell Nest in early 2016. It failed to find a buyer, however, and former Nest employees now complain of less creative freedom after founder Tony Fadell's departure as CEO last year.

The March 2014 deal that brought Nest to Google caused a stir in the tech industry because Fadell helped create the iPhone while at Apple.

Yet the acquisition of a business that makes internet-connected thermostats and other home hardware by a company that gets nearly all revenue from online ads came before the arrival of Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat in 2015.

Soon after, Google reorganized itself and Nest fell under the operations of Alphabet's Other Bets category. Porat, a former Wall Street investment banker, has brought new discipline to those divisions in particular since taking over as CFO.

For the quarter ended in March, the operating loss of the Other Bets businesses widened to $855 million from $774 million a year earlier.

Earlier this month Alphabet dealt off two robotics units, one of which, Boston Dynamics, had been led by a high-profile executive with a stellar track record.

Read the full report from Reuters here.