Mosaid sees rescue in its Nokia-Microsoft deal

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2011 11:44 AM
Mosaid sees rescue in its Nokia-Microsoft deal

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - A patent licensing pact reached with tech giants Nokia and Microsoft will transform Canada's Mosaid Technologies, its CEO said on Thursday, and could help protect it from a C$480 million ($490 million) hostile takeover bid.

Mosaid said it will buy about 2,000 wireless patents from Core Wireless, which holds them for Nokia and Microsoft.

Mosaid said it will pay nothing for the patents, but will shoulder the costs of reaching licensing deals with other companies and take a one-third cut of any deals made.

The deal is "transformative" for Mosaid and revenue from future licensing will likely exceed the company's revenue from its first 35 years in business, Mosaid Chief Executive John Lindgren told Reuters.

"The numbers from this are going to be potentially so large as to make up the majority of our revenues going forward," he said.

Under the terms of the deal, any change in ownership of the patents would need to be approved by both Nokia and Microsoft, which earlier this year tied up in a deal for Microsoft to provide the operating system for Nokia phones.

The agreement complicates the takeover picture for WiLan Inc, a fellow Ottawa-based patent licensing firm that is offering C$38 a share for Mosaid with the aim of creating a company with global scale.

Investors cheered the Nokia-Microsoft deal, pushing Mosaid's shares up 3.6 percent to C$41.91.

Before Wi-Lan's hostile bid, Mosaid shares had traded in a range of C$25 to C$35 this year.

Mosaid, which gets most of its revenue from licensing semiconductor technology but has moved aggressively into wireless, has said WiLan's offer grossly undervalues it.

Lindgren said the wireless patents that it now has the right to license are stronger than those included in a $4.5 billion sale earlier this year of patents belonging to bankrupt Nortel Networks.

"We stack this portfolio up next to that (Nortel), this one's stronger," he said, adding that Nortel had 498 patents claimed essential to various standards globally versus the 1,215 that Mosaid just acquired.

Lindgren said that in the emerging wireless broadband technology known as long-term evolution (LTE), Mosaid can claim 169 patents compared with the 277 that Nortel had, while Mosaid has more than 900 patents for current 3G technology versus the 11 that Nortel had.

Mosaid, which had been working on the acquisition of the patents since March, maintained its financial outlook for 2012.

It expects adjusted earnings of C$2-$2.12 a share on revenue of C$85 million-C$90 million. Analysts on average expect earnings of C$2.12 per share on revenue of C$86 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Mosaid's acquisition marks the latest in a string of deals in the patent licensing space, including Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in August.

Mosaid is expected to respond to Wi-Lan's unsolicited bid by September 7.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Pav Jordan, additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; editing by Peter Galloway)