Yahoo auctions off 3,000 of its patents as part of its sales deal

Yahoo has put a portfolio of at least 3,000 of the patents it owns up on auction, as part of the sale of its core web business.

The patents, some of which go way back as early as 1996, include e-commerce and online advertising, an ad-matching technology patent, and even contains its core patents from its original search technology. According to the Wall Street Journal, the patents are expected to fetch as high as $1 billion.

Yahoo has sent letters to potential buyers like private firms, and equity firms focused in intellectual property, informing them of the auction. Interested buyers can set their preliminary bids until mid-June.

"This 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," according to a Yahoo spokeswoman who confirmed the sale.

Verizon is apparently one of the most interested parties to acquire Yahoo, bidding $3 billion for it, after it purchased AOL last year for $4.4 billion. Microsoft was also reportedly found discussing funding bids by Verizon, as well as other private equity firms.

Yahoo was undeniably once the pioneer of the internet search market, but has over time lost its luster, which led into the company putting itself up for sale. As part of its turnaround plan, the company even aims to cut 15% of its workforce by the end of the year.

Lastly, according to the spokeswoman, Yahoo is offering a smaller group of patents, which consists of 500 U.S. patents as well as 600 pending applications, as a part of its core web business auction. These patents are seen as something necessary to the total infrastructure of Yahoo's web properties.

Source: Wall Street Journal via ZDNet

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