A consortium that include Apple, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion snatch Nortel Networks' portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion, from under the noses of Google and Intel, stealing a march on their rivals in a litigious market, in an auction that began early this week.
The Canadian based communications company filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2009 and has been selling off its properties to pay off its creditors.
The patents themselves cover a wide range of subjects and products including "wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors" and more. The deal is not yet final. Nortel must still get court approval from both Canada and the US on July 11 and expects to officially close the deal later in the third quarter.
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion will pay $770 million of the purchase consideration, and Ericsson will pay $340 million. The other parties did not immediately say what their share would be.
Google had originally opened bidding with a $900 million bid. The consortium of strange bedfellows will split up the portfolio based on the split of the purchase price.
The sale is subject to Canadian and U.S. court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11.
Full press release as follows: