The company’s thinking seriously about it — so much so that it hired Evercore Partners to explore a sale of more than 800 patents and consider other strategic options, Bloomberg reports citing “three people with knowledge of the situation.” They also tell the news service that private equity firms Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and Silver Lake are trying to interest AOL in a plan to go private. The news about the patents follows CEO Tim Armstrong’s comment at an investor conference two weeks ago that AOL’s portfolio is like “beachfront property in East Hampton.” He added that “when we were spinning out of Time Warner this was a huge negotiation.” The patents involve a wide range of Internet-based activities in areas including e-commerce, travel navigation, and search-related advertising. But last month Starboard Value, which owns 5.2% of AOL, said in a letter to the board that the properties have been “unrecognized and underutilized.” The portfolio “could produce in excess of $1 billion of licensing income if appropriately harvested and monetized,” the investor group said. AOL shares have been steadily recovering from a steep drop in August when it reported that its investments in new ventures, including local news service Patch, contributed to quarterly earnings that were far below analyst expectations. AOL’s -7.4% over the last 12 months, but it’s +22.5% since the beginning of 2012.
Will AOL Sell Its “Beachfront” Patents?
Trending Now on Deadline
Int'l Box Office Final: 'Guardians' Now 3rd Biggest Marvel Movie Ever; 'Dracula Untold', 'Gone Girl', 'Annabelle' Hold Well; Action In France, Mexico; More
Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League: Make A Place For Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, And Film Stock In Digital Future
Ryan Murphy & His 'Glee' Co-Creators Get Fox Series Order For Comedy-Horror Anthology 'Scream Queens'
Parents & Frequent Moviegoers Are Desensitized To Violence, Sex In Film; Likely So Is MPAA Ratings Board: Study
'Fury' Wins Box Office War With $23.7M; 'Book Of Life' At $17M; 'Gone Girl' $100M+; 'Best Of Me' $10M - B.O. Final
More From Lieberman
- Apple Beats Earnings Expectations With Help From iPhones, But Not iPads
- How The New York Times Missed The Story About HBO, CBS, And The Web
- Movie Ticket Outlays Averaged $8.08 In Q3, Up 3.1% From Last Year
- Fox And Tribune Call Off Their NFL-Related TV Battle For Seattle
- Google Shares Slip After It Misses Q3 Earnings Expectations
- CBS Launches $5.99-A-Month Subscription Streaming Service