Intel Corp. (INTC) is among companies considering submitting bids for InterDigital Inc.’s patent portfolio this month, while Google Inc. (GOOG) is losing interest in the assets, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Intel, Samsung Electronics Co., Ericsson AB and HTC Corp. (2498), are reviewing confidential InterDigital data as they weigh offers for the company’s assets, said the people, who declined to be identified because talks are private. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) have also looked, one person said. First-round bids are due in two weeks, and bidders have been asked to indicate initial interest in the coming days, the person said.
Some buyers may team up on proposals, the person said. Google is backing away from an offer after agreeing to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion last month to gain patents and a hardware business, the people said. InterDigital, which had a market value of about $3 billion as of yesterday’s close, may fetch more than $5 billion, according to analysts at Algorithm Capital and Dougherty & Co.
InterDigital’s engineers invented some of the technology for high-speed mobile phone networks now used by the world’s biggest handset makers. The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company has about 8,800 patents on inventions used in devices ranging from Apple’s iPhone to Google’s Android-based handsets and Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)’s BlackBerry.
Officials at InterDigital, Google, Intel, Samsung, Ericsson, HTC, Apple, Microsoft declined to comment.
Companies won’t be required to submit detailed financing information with their indications of interest, one person said.
InterDigital’s shares have gained 55 percent since July 18, the last day of trading before the company said it hired Evercore Partners Inc. and Barclays Capital to explore a sale or other transaction. The stock dropped $2.85, or 4.3 percent, to $64.28 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The company has said its patents are deeper and stronger than those Nortel Networks Corp. sold for $4.5 billion in June to a consortium including Apple and Microsoft. The companies are selling patent portfolios as smartphone sales are forecast to almost double to 1.1 billion in 2015, according to estimates from Gartner Inc.
During the second quarter, Apple and Samsung became the top two makers of smartphones after their shipments trumped those of Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) for the first time, research firm Strategy Analytics said in July. Apple’s iPhones accounted for 18.5 percent of global smartphone shipments, followed by Samsung’s 17.5 percent and Nokia’s 15.2 percent, according to the researcher.
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