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Consortium to Buy Nortel Patent Portfolio for $4.5 Billion

Nortel Networks Corp., the bankrupt telecommunications equipment supplier that was once one of the most venerated communications companies in the world, on Thursday announced that the company and certain subsidiaries concluded an auction of its remaining patents and patent applications to a consortium for $4.5 billion.

Consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research in Motion and Sony, the consortium will acquire more than 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents.  

Google had been in the hunt for the patents, and in May, courts in Canada and the U.S. approved a stalking horse” asset sale agreement with a Google subsidiary, Ranger Inc., for a purchase price of $900 million. But following a multi-day auction, the consortium agreed to pay five times that amount for Nortels patent portfolio.

The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world,” said Nortels George Riedel, chief strategy officer and president of business units.

The sale is subject to court approvals, and Nortel said it will seek such approvals at a joint hearing that is scheduled for July 11.

Nortel will work diligently with the consortium to close the sale in the third quarter of 2011,” the company said.


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