The interest around InterDigital's wireless patent portfolio is heating up, with Intel among the wireless and technology giants vying for the company's intellectual property, according to a Bloomberg report.
The report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), HTC, Intel and Samsung are among the companies that are reviewing confidential InterDigital data in advance of making bids. The report said first-round bids are due in two weeks, and bidders have been asked to indicate initial interest this week. Interestingly, the report also noted that some companies might team up and that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have also expressed interest.
All of the companies involved declined to comment, according to Bloomberg. Previous reports have indicated that Apple, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung were interested in InterDigital, which said in July that it was exploring strategic options, including a possible sale. Since then, Google announced plans to purchase Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) for $12.5 billion, in part for Motorola's wireless patent portfolio. Google is apparently backing away from InterDigital at this point.
Wireless patents have become something of a land rush this summer. Google lost out in a patent auction in early July to a coalition of six companies, including Apple, EMC Corp., Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Sony, for Nortel Networks' patent portfolio. The consortium paid $4.5 billion, and Apple contributed $2.6 billion, though antitrust officials at the Justice Department are reportedly investigating the sale. Intel was also a bidder in the Nortel auction but eventually dropped out.
InterDigital develops and licenses circuitry designs, software and wireless technologies. InterDigital has a market value of around $3 billion, and the firm holds about 8,800 patents and has about 10,000 patent applications in process around the world.
- see this Bloomberg article
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