AOL Sells Patents To Microsoft For $1.1B
By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor | Monday April 9, 2012 @ 4:08am PDTTags: AOL, microsoft
AOL shares are up more than 35% in pre-market trading moments after CEO Tim Armstrong agreed to unload more than 800 patents in a portfolio that he recently referred to as beachfront property in East Hampton.
AOL says it will return a significant portion of the sale proceeds to shareholders.
The company will decide what form the investor benefit will take by year end, when it expects the deal to close. Armstrong has been under intense pressure to do something with the patents which involve processes for handling things like e-commerce, travel navigation, and search-related advertising.
Activist investor Jeffrey Smith, whose Starboard Value owns 5.2% of AOL, recently said that Armstrong should treat a potential sale with a sense of urgency due to the relatively short remaining lives of some of the material patents.
Armstrong says that the deal unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value.
Microsoft has agreed to pay AOL $211.2M if regulators block the deal, according to an SEC filing.