Financially ailing Yahoo, presently entertaining bids to sell its Web and Asian assets, has in its financial arsenal technology patents valued as high as $3 to $4 billion, the New York Post reported.
Yahoo owns about 6,000 patents targeting behavioral advertising, data mining, mobile messaging, and other patents not related to Yahoo’s core business, according to intellectual property (IP) experts the newspaper did not identify.
“Yahoo has a lot of fantastic patents that can be used on the enterprise side,” an unnamed source who valued Yahoo’s patent portfolio told the Post. “But there’s a lot more that cover businesses they’re not in.”
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Interest in Yahoo’s patents is evident.
An unnamed source who is close to the sales process told the Post that, “At least five bidders have been making calls to try to value the IP. Private equity firms have been making calls. They know they’re sitting on something big. They do not want people to know about this.”
However, no bidders so far have shown interest in just the patent portfolio alone, although other technology companies, including Amazon, Linkedin, Microsoft, and Salesforce, are following the sales process, according to the Post’s source.
Yahoo would sell non-core assets, including real estate and patents, with a combined value of between $1 and $3 billion, Yahoo’s Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said in March.
Which patents Yahoo would sell is not certain, the Post reported.
A report that a law firm in Silicon Valley completed in 2012 estimated that Yahoo’s patents are worth as much as $10 billion, an unnamed intellectual property expert told the Post.
The Post reported that Yahoo has over the last three years sold patents valued at $600 million.