Openwave Systems to sell core businesses

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 16, 2012 7:33 AM
Openwave Systems to sell core businesses

(Reuters) - Openwave Systems Inc, which makes software for mobile phones, said it will sell its core service mediation and messaging products businesses to a private equity firm as part of its plan to sell its portfolio of about 200 patents.

The company, which has patents covering smart devices, cloud technologies and unified messaging that enables mobile devices to connect to the Internet, had earlier hired Jefferies & Co to help it explore strategic options.

As consumers increasingly access the Internet on their mobile devices, driving data usage and e-commerce, companies have scrambled to monetize their intellectual property related to these technologies, a recent example being AOL Inc's $1 billion patent deal with Microsoft.

Openwave's service mediation and messaging products businesses accounted for 58 percent of its first-quarter revenue, and is expected to fetch between $60 million and $120 million, according to analysts.

The buyer, a California-based private equity firm called Marlin Equity Partners, plans to rename the acquired businesses Openwave Mobility and Openwave Messaging, the companies said in a statement.

Openwave, whose software allows telecom operators like Sprint Nextel and AT&T give their customers wireless access to data and applications, has already sold its location business to India-based Persistent Systems Ltd.

The company will rename its remaining business Unwired Planet and remain a publicly traded company after the deal closes this month.

(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)