Borders selling over 60,000 IP addresses

Borders, the retail book seller that went bankrupt earlier this year, is trying to sell off its remaining assets. One of them is a large batch of IP addresses it currently controls. The Register reports that according to a New York bankruptcy court filing. Borders plans to sell 65,536 IPv4 addresses to healthcare software vendor Cerner. The asking price is $12 per address which would make the final total to be $786,432.

The story says that the company in charge of selling the IP addresses, StreamBank, was contacted by thousands of potential bidders. They included companies that you would expect would want control of such a large batch of IP addresses, including domain name registries and Internet service providers. In the end, Cerner came up with the highest bid. The deal is not yet official.

The filing said that ARIN, the regional IP address registry for North America, has to consent to the transfer. The heading to approve the sale is expected to happen in court on December 20.

While this kind of deal is unusual, it is not unique. Earlier this year Microsoft spent a whopping $7.5 million in order to obtain control of 666,624 IPv4 addresses from bankrupt telecommunications company Nortel.

With IPv4 addresses now subject to dwindling supplies as companies slowly transition over to IPv6, these kind of IP address deals could become more commonplace in the months ahead.

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23 Comments

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Equal rights my ass... Suddenly there are no RIPE/ARIN regulations for these big companies with thousands of unused IPs.
Every time I request small IPv4 blocks for my company I have to explain exactly why I need them, read tons of pages of their stupid ARIN/RIPE regulations and fill in a huge form.

My university owns an entire /16 block of addresses, which I suppose is the same amount that Borders is selling off here. It seems a bit excessive given the size of my university (<7,000 students)

Back in olden days they used to have classes of IP addresses. So you had to buy a whole block of a particular class. But now the IP classes are no more.

Erm, technically only 65,534 of those are addressable (if they sell the whole class B). Hah I still have that geek mojo! ;-)

Breach said,
Erm, technically only 65,534 of those are addressable (if they sell the whole class B). Hah I still have that geek mojo! ;-)

I love that, lol.

Too bad it isn't possible to "nationalize" all these unused/misused IP ranges and even if it was (or if it is), ICANN wouldn't have the balls to do it. That way we could live with IPv4 for some 10 more years.

cralias said,
Too bad it isn't possible to "nationalize" all these unused/misused IP ranges and even if it was (or if it is), ICANN wouldn't have the balls to do it. That way we could live with IPv4 for some 10 more years.

Nationalize? Nationalize??? I think it's about time we bring the Committee on Un-American Activities back!

Breach said,

Nationalize? Nationalize??? I think it's about time we bring the Committee on Un-American Activities back!

Oh yes, the evil communists (with Obama leading them) must be everywhere just looking for a chance to redden the skies of bliss and sunshine.
Airport security takeover by DHS after 9/11 - f*ing communists at helm.
Citigroup takeover - f*ing communists again.
GM takeover - f*ing communists again, right?

If you really think nationalization is a communist-exclusive concept, it isn't. It's widely done, especially during recession in many countries. Expropriation, however, is a communist concept.

If this doesn't stick then... well, please, don't feel bothered and carry on your vision of eternal sunshine while living in the Sleepwalking State Of Freedom, proud American citizen.

cralias said,

If this doesn't stick then... well, please, don't feel bothered and carry on your vision of eternal sunshine while living in the Sleepwalking State Of Freedom, proud American citizen.

I'm sorry, reading your post I thought you meant expropriation - I now see you suggest that ICANN buy back all unused IP addresses and sell them to the needy. I don't see why they have to though, as the IPv4 market is not exactly in a recession - if you read the article it's becoming a very lucrative business. So why bring in ICANN in when the market forces are at hard at work already?

Breach said,

I'm sorry, reading your post I thought you meant expropriation - I now see you suggest that ICANN buy back all unused IP addresses and sell them to the needy. I don't see why they have to though, as the IPv4 market is not exactly in a recession - if you read the article it's becoming a very lucrative business. So why bring in ICANN in when the market forces are at hard at work already?

And I'm sorry for overreacting.
The problem I see with this deal is that the whole range is sold as one. Does Cerner really have 64000 servers that all need unique IPs? Even Facebook doesn't have so many.
A buyback by an authority would make it possible for small companies and ISPs to obtain subranges according to their needs.

cralias said,
Too bad it isn't possible to "nationalize" all these unused/misused IP ranges and even if it was (or if it is), ICANN wouldn't have the balls to do it. That way we could live with IPv4 for some 10 more years.

10 years? Hardly. Even if you discount all of the "misused" and "unused" addresses, the internet is expanding at an explosive rate. Just look at how it was 10 years ago, now imagine that it'll grow by the same amount and suddenly IPv4 just isn't enough.

For all the effort it would take to do this, it'd be better just to encourage moving to IPv6, that way everyone can have an IP for every device they own.

Borders probably bought their own public class B network back in the day, something like 161.221.x.x, back when IP addresses were cheap.

Interesting though that Cerner is buying them.

Based on the price Borders is selling the IPs its a little more expensive than what Microsoft paid / IP. If you keep the value the same that borders is selling their IPs for to buy same amount of IPs Microsoft bought from Nortel would be just under 8million dollars ($7,999,488). "Whopping" practically same price range and more!

Navan said,
Why do companies purchase IP addresses in such large numbers? Could someone enlighten me?

My friend back in the days of Dialup wanted 2 IPs for his server for the same price he paid he got around 20,000 IPs he couldn't get any less that's how they divided them up. I assume companies back then just gave them away like nothing!

brink668 said,

My friend back in the days of Dialup wanted 2 IPs for his server for the same price he paid he got around 20,000 IPs he couldn't get any less that's how they divided them up. I assume companies back then just gave them away like nothing!

Not the same. Chances are he bought a class C or possibly a class B(unlikely though) IP address. They are much cheaper than the IP address's that these bigger company own which are usually Class A.

Navan said,
Why do companies purchase IP addresses in such large numbers? Could someone enlighten me?

Possibly this is part of the current problem of IPv4 shortages. When originally sold, before CIDR most large organisations bought/or could only buy /16 or higher blocks = 65,536 or more therefore there must be millions of unused v4 IP`s lying around...

M_Lyons10 said,
Forgive my stupidity, but what could Borders have possibly been doing with all of these IP Addresses? Just curious.
Not much, arguibly the same as what apple's doing with it's 16,000,000 IPs.

M_Lyons10 said,
Forgive my stupidity, but what could Borders have possibly been doing with all of these IP Addresses? Just curious.

If you start looking at what different companies have you'll be asking yourself the question a lot, as n_K said, what's Apple doing with 16 million IPs? (probably more than Broker with their 65000, but still)
Do steam really need over half a million IPs? They have a lot of servers no doubt, but that many? Doubt it...

M_Lyons10 said,
Forgive my stupidity, but what could Borders have possibly been doing with all of these IP Addresses? Just curious.

Borders did have a failed ebook reader the Kobo so maybe something to do with that..

M_Lyons10 said,
Forgive my stupidity, but what could Borders have possibly been doing with all of these IP Addresses? Just curious.

If/When the IPocalypse finally comes around, they'll be worth a small fortune to those lucky enough to buy large blocks.