InterDigital explores putting itself up for sale

InterDigital said it will explore its strategic options, including the possibility of putting itself or some of its patents up for sale, the latest indication that wireless technology patents are becoming even more of a hot commodity.

The wireless technology firm develops and licenses circuitry designs, software and wireless technologies. InterDigital's stock has a market value of $1.95 billion, and the firm holds about 8,800 patents and has about 10,000 patent applications in process around the world.

In a statement, Terry Clontz, chairman of InterDigital's board, said that "over the past year we have seen the value of intellectual property rise substantially as major players in the mobile industry increasingly understand the strategic and economic value of this type of asset." As a result, he said, the board is exploring strategic options to enhance shareholders value, and which may include a sale or some other kind of transaction.

InterDigital retained Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital as its financial advisers, but warned the activities may not result in a deal. The company also wouldn't provide a timetable for a possible transaction.

The company's announcement comes just weeks after a coalition of six companies, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), won Nortel Networks' patent portfolio for $4.5 billion in a bankruptcy auction, outbidding Google and Intel. The winning consortium also included Sony and EMC Corp., the IT storage and cloud computing firm.

In the past, InterDigital has licensed its patents to Apple, Ericsson, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and others. 

For more:
- see this release
- see this Reuters article

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