Consortium offers winning bid for Nortel patents

A consortium of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony successfully bid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 Nortel patents offered in auction as part of Nortel’s bankruptcy-induced breakup. The patents cover a wide range of technologies, including optical.

A consortium of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony successfully bid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 Nortel patents offered in auction as part of Nortel’s bankruptcy-induced breakup. The patents cover a wide range of technologies, including optical.

The auction lasted a number of days. Among those the consortium bested was Google, which started the auction process rolling by submitting a stalking horse bid of $900 million for the patents back in April (see “Google offers stalking horse bid for Nortel patents”). Intel Corp. also was reported part of the bidding process.

"Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio", said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. "The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world."

That interest derived from the wide range of technologies and applications the portfolio covered. Besides optical communications, the patents covered such applications as wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, voice, Internet, service provider, and semiconductors, among others. Nortel described the portfolio as touching “nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.”

Ericsson has announced that it supplied $340 million towards the winning bid, while Research In Motion says it chipped in $770 million. The other winning bidders have remained quiet about their contributions as of mid-morning July 1.

The sale is subject to applicable Canadian and U.S. Court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11, 2011. Nortel hopes to close the sale in the third quarter of this year.

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