Punch line: AOL has hired Evercore Partners to help it shop around its patent portfolio in hopes of offsetting lost dial-up business and “accelerating shareholder value creation.”
Meanwhile, Facebook has acquired around 750 patents from IBM in order to “bolster the social network’s defenses against litigious rivals”.
Excerpted from: CNET: AOL, lacking better options, hires firm to sell its patents
Citing three people with knowledge of the hire, Bloomberg says AOL tapped Evercore to find a buyer for more than 800 patents and to “explore other strategic options” — code for a possible sale or private buyout of the entire company.
Last December, AOL announced plans to reorganize the company, combining its declining dial-up Internet service business and its Web services arm, the latter of which was recently scaled back with layoffs in the Instant Messenger group.
AOL has previously said it’s looking for ways to raise cash from its patent portfolio and is making efforts to “accelerate shareholder value creation.”
AOL’s move follows Facebook’s acquisition of some 750 patents from IBM, a deal made to bolster the social network’s defenses against litigious rivals. Facebook has been targeted by Yahoo for allegedly infringing on a number of its patents that cover customization and advertising.
Easy to pile on AOL for its strategic mis-steps over the years (e.g. hanging with the “walled garden” too long, failing to find a way to migrate to high-speed internet service), but gotta give the company credit for its role in the Internet explosion.
And, in a timely fashion, the original owners dumped the bag on Time-Warner … walking away with a fortune …