AOL just sold the majority of its patent portfolio to Microsoft. The price: about a billion dollars.
The sale marks an end to AOL’s very public hunt for a buyer, and the company says Microsoft was the winner of a competitive auction. In addition to purchasing 800 patents, Microsoft also gets licenses for AOL’s remaining 300 patents. By the same token, AOL retains licenses for the patents Microsoft bought.
In an AOL press release, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith says Microsoft was able to achieve two goals: getting access to all of AOL’s patents and owning specific ones that “complement” the company’s existing portfolio.
AOL expects the transaction to be finished by the end of 2012, and says it plans to turn most of the $1.056 billion sale price over to shareholders. [read]