Lenovo splashes $100M to get mobile patents from Unwired Planet

Continuing its acquisition streak to bolster its mobile position, Lenovo announced it will purchase $100 million in wireless patents from Unwired Planet. The deal comes a little less than two months after Lenovo agreed to buy Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobile division for $2.91 billion.

The deal with Unwired Planet consists of 21 patent families, including patents related to 3G and LTE. Lenovo will also get access for a number of years to Unwired Planet's wider portfolio of 2,500 issued and pending patents. The deal should close in 30 days.

"This investment is an extension of Lenovo's existing intellectual property portfolio," Lenovo General Counsel Jay Clemens said in a statement. "It will serve the company well as we grow and develop our worldwide smartphone and mobile PC Plus business in new markets."

In January 2013 Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) sold close to 2,000 wireless patents to Unwired Planet, formerly Openwave Systems.

The Ericsson deal included patents related to 2G, 3G and LTE technologies, and covered 1,922 issued patents and 263 patent applications covering technology used in "telecommunications infrastructure including signal processing, network protocols, radio resource management, voice/text applications, mobility management, software, hardware and antennas." Of the 1,922 issued patents, 753 were U.S. patents.

Unwired Planet is what is left of Openwave after the firm sold its messaging and mediation businesses to Marlin Equity Partners in April 2012. At the time, Openwave said it would operate under the Unwired Planet brand, and would focus on a mobile communications patent portfolio comprised of 200 issued U.S. and foreign patents and another 75 pending applications.

"We will continue to use acquisitions as a means to grow," Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said after a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Whenever there is a good opportunity, we will grasp it." The company is also spending $2.3 billion for IBM's low-end server business.

Yang said he thinks Lenovo will be able to turn around Motorola's unprofitable business in four to six quarters after it completes the deal, which is a more specific time frame than he had stated before. He said Motorola would do so by increasing economies of scale rather than cutting staff.

For more:
- see this Re/code article
- see this CNET article

Related Articles:
Ericsson sells wireless patents to Unwired Planet
Lenovo predicts Motorola turnaround, but cautions it will take time
Lenovo aims to pass Samsung, Apple with Motorola purchase
Google calls Motorola sale a 'win-win' for Android
Lenovo to become world's No. 3 smartphone vendor with Google's Motorola
Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91B