New York—AOL Inc. has agreed to sell more than 800 patents and license more than 300 others to Microsoft Corp. for about $1.1 billion in cash. AOL began the patent auction process in the fall of 2011 and expects the deal to close by the end of this year.
The company said it would return a significant portion of the proceeds to shareholders. AOL retains a portfolio of more than 300 patents related to advertising, content management, multimedia, search and social networking.
“We continue to hold a valuable patent portfolio as highlighted by the license we entered into with Microsoft,” said Tim Armstrong, AOL's chairman-CEO, in a statement. “The combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value.”