Microsoft Pays AOL $1.056 Billion For 800 Patents

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Struggling online group AOL has announced an 800 patent $1.056 billion deal with Microsoft that resulted in a 45% surge in AOL stock.Microsoft’s purchase will grant AOL a license to the patents in question as well as “a nonexclusive license for Microsoft to AOL’s remaining portfolio of 300 patents, which include those for advertising, search, content generation, social networking and mapping technology.”

According to patent advisory firm M-Cam Inc., AOL’s patent portfolio is valued at $290 million, so the $1.056 billion sale was quite a nice surprise to shareholders, who responded by pushing up the stock price to $26.40 per share — the highest in nearly a year and a half.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong offered little insight as to what the internet patents in question covered, instead jokingly referring to them as “beachfront property in East Hampton.” The patents were initially acquired from Time Warner, when the entertainment giant sent AOL packing in 2009, effectively ending the failed marriage of the companies.

The news likely came as a blow to Starboard who owns 5.2 percent of AOL and has been actively pursuing “a proxy campaign to win seats on AOL’s board” after voicing dissatisfaction with CEO Armstrong’s attempts to buoy ad sales for the company’s various online portals.

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