Yahoo sweetens sales deal with auction of 3,000 patents

The patents include inventions used in the firm's search technology.

yahoo-ceo-patent-sale.jpg

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Yahoo is touting roughly 3,000 patents in a new auction alongside the sale of the firm's core web search and advertising business.

The company, which has slowly lost its once-strong position in the internet search market to rivals such as Google, has now reached the stage of selling the core patents. which includes its original search technology.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the stock of patents could fetch up to $1 billion.

The patents date back to 1996 and cover the areas of internet search, e-commerce and online advertising. The auction will also include the sale of pending applications.

In recent weeks, Yahoo sent letters to potential buyers informing them of the auction, of which the opportunity to set preliminary bids ends in mid-June.

A Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed the sale and said in a statement:

"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 auction has appeared at the sale of Yahoo's core business sale. There is a deadline of next Monday for interested buyers to submit bids in the second auction round, of which Verizon and private equity firm TPG are believed to be interested parties.

Verizon has reportedly offered close to $3 billion for the business, having snapped up AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion.

After Marissa Mayer took the helm roughly four years ago, the company has failed to turn itself around in the face of stiff competition and a tough market, leading to the core business sale. Much of Yahoo's worth now lies in Yahoo Japan and a stake in Alibaba.

As part of the acquisition of Yahoo's core internet and advertising business, a small subset of 500 US patents and over 600 US pending applications will be included, according to the WSJ. These patents are considered to be "necessary" to the backbone and infrastructure of Yahoo's web properties.