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HP Seeks Buyer For WebOS And Mobile Patents – Report

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HP reportedly wants to sell its mobile intellectual property to raise funds

HP is searching for potential buyers for its mobile patent portfolio as CEO Meg Whitman looks to raise extra money for the company as part of her ongoing stabilisation and restructuring programme.

Bloomberg says HP has approached a number of suitors, who may be more interested now that a number of the restrictive conditions attached to the patents have been removed – which may also allow HP to ask a higher price.

It is understood that the portfolio includes intellectual property relating to the WebOS platform acquired by HP in its $1.25bn (£790m) takeover of Palm in 2010. WebOS was shut down by Whitman’s predecessor, Leo Apotheker, in 2011, but was eventually revived and turned into an open source project as part of a wholly-owned subsidiary called Gram.

HP patents

HP WebOS tablet, phonesHowever earlier this year, WebOS was sold to LG, which plans to use the operating system in cars and Smart TVs. As part of the deal, HP retained the patents, with LG securing a licensing agreement, however this arrangement is not believed to be a barrier to a sale of the intellectual property.

Mobile patent portfolios have become increasingly valuable in recent years, with Google admitting that its $12.5 billion (£7.72bn) takeover of Motorola Mobility in 2012 was largely motivated by a desire to acquire the manufacturer’s patents.

Meanwhile, the struggling mobile firm BlackBerry sees its patent portfolio as one of its most valuable assets, with some observers suggesting the catalogue could be worth as much as $5 billion (£3.08bn) if it were sold to a single bidder.

However the recent trend has been for large consortiums of firms purchasing patents, something which reduces competition, and could mean BlackBerry’s intellectual property could be worth between $2 billion (£1.23bn) and $3 billion (£1.885bn)

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