Yahoo to sell patents relating to search, advertising and the cloud

Some patents relating to the core Internet business are being retained

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Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, presents the company's fourth quarter earnings during a webcast on Feb. 2, 2016. Credit: Yahoo/IDGNS

Yahoo is selling over 3,000 patents and pending applications that the pioneering Internet company believes could be the most foundational patents related to Web search and advertising.

The patents are in the areas of search, advertising and cloud technology and 2,659 of these were assigned in April to a Yahoo subsidiary called Excalibur ahead of the sale.

“Yahoo is exploring the divestiture of a portfolio of more than 3,000 patents and pending applications covering a wide range of technology, including early-filed Internet search, advertising, and cloud technology,” a Yahoo spokeswoman said in an email Tuesday.

The divestiture of the patent portfolio “represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the Internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to web search and advertising,” she added.

The Internet company is retaining a significant number of patents and pending applications in the U.S. and abroad that are related to its core Internet business. These include over 500 patents issued in the U.S., over 600 pending applications in the U.S. and about 1,000 additional foreign equivalents that are both pending and issued.

Yahoo said during an earnings call for its fourth quarter 2015 results that it had begun to explore divesting non-strategic assets of value this year, including non-core patents and real estate, for between $1 billion and $3 billion in cash.

Invitations have been sent out to potential buyers and according to The Wall Street Journal, the preliminary bids have to be in by the middle of June.

Yahoo said it hasn’t fixed a reserve price or given any guidance on the price. It hasn’t disclosed the names of the companies to whom it has sent invitations to bid, other than describing them as "strategic-operating companies."

The company is meanwhile also exploring the sale of its core Internet business. Verizon Communications is said to have bid $3 billion for the Internet assets ahead of a Monday deadline, according to WSJ.

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