Biz Break: Yahoo to auction off its patents

Top Of The Order:  

Get Your Bidding Paddles Out: While the ongoing speculation about who is going to win the bidding process for Yahoo’s core Internet business shows no signs of ending soon, the company is also looking at putting some of its other assets on the auction block.

Yahoo is said to be considering auctioning off more than 3,000 of its technology patents in an effort that could raise between $1 billion and $3 billion. The patent auction would be part of the company’s effort to try and make some money off of its tech property, and such an auction probably shouldn’t come as a surprise; the company said earlier this year would look at getting rid of some of its patents and real estate that fell into the area of “non-strategic assets.”

Or, in other words, things Yahoo doesn’t feel it really needs right now to keep the lights on.

The patents all fall under Yahoo’s Excalibur business unit. In a statement Yahoo sent to the Mercury News, a Yahoo spokesperson said the patents up for auction cover “a wide range of technology, including early-filed internet search, advertising, and cloud technology. 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.”

The Sunnyvale-based company said it would retain more than 1,000 other patents.

Selling tech patents is one of the easiest ways for a troubled company to quickly raise cash. For instance, in 2012, AOL sold about 800 of its patents to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. The infusion of dough helped AOL for a while, but the company still ended up selling itself to Verizon for $4.4 billion in July 2015.

And Verizon is said to be one of the leading bidders in the auction process involving the rest of Yahoo’s main Internet business, and may be offering $3 billion for the company’s offerings. Yahoo has given no more updates about how far along that process is, or when it might be completed.

However, Yahoo’s annual shareholders meeting is set for June 30 in Santa Clara. And with that date looming, the company may be looking at getting something done that will take its stock owners out of the state of limbo they have been in since Chief Executive Marissa Mayer put Yahoo on its current path almost five months ago.

Middle Innings:

An 85/15 Vision: Apple is coming. Well, actually, its annual Worldwide Developers Conference is coming, and it will kick off in San Francisco on Monday. Expect long lines of app developers to be lined up outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium ahead of CEO Tim Cook’s conference-starting keynote address.

As with any Apple event, there is a lot of speculation going around about just what the company plans to show off to wow the assembled masses. Three things that are definitely going to go down involve the company’s successful, and critical to its future, App Store.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s worldwide marketing chief, told The Verge that Apple is going to make what could be a dramatic change in the App Store’s revenue model. Currently, developers get a 70 percent cut of any apps they sell, while Apple takes home the remaining 30 percent. That setup will remain, but if a developer sells subscriptions to an app, and a subscriber stays on for a year, Apple will up the developer’s take to 85 percent, thus cutting its own share to 15 percent.

Schiller also said selling subscriptions will be an option for all developers, and that search ads for apps will soon be coming to the App Store.

Thank You, Uncle Elon: Panasonic officials ought to kiss the ring of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. They might as well kiss Musk’s feet while they’re at it.

That’s because Musk sent out the following tweet late Tuesday night…

And by the time U.S. stock markets closed Wednesday, Panasonic’s shares had risen more than 5 percent to close at $9.39.

The reason Musk’s tweet mattered so much is because there were reports that Tesla was talking with Samsung SDI about that company supplying batteries and storage systems for Tesla’s new Model 3 electric car. The car, commonly called the first “mass market” Tesla vehicle, is slated to be delivered for the first time in the latter part of 2017.

Bottom Of The Lineup: 

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Wednesday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Ubiquiti Networks, NetGear, Yelp, Rocket Fuel and Power Integrations.

In The Red: VeriFone Systems shares fell almost 25 percent to close at $21.27. Late Tuesday, the payments-system technology company gave a disappointing quarterly and annual forecast, due in part to delays in new credit-card chip technology systems being put in place in the U.S. Losses also came from NeoPhotonics, Cavium, Oclaro and Aemetis.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 4,974.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4 percent to end the day at 18,005.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent to 2,119.

Quote Of The Day: “He’s like the Bay Area Mayor of Golf.” — Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, talking about teammate Andre Iguodala, who seems to like being out on the links as much as on the hardwood. The Warriors face Cleveland in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night.

Sign up for the 60-Second Business Break newsletter at

Photo: Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale. Yahoo is looking at auctioning off up to 3,000 of its tech patents. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Share this Post