AOL announced in April that they had come to an agreement with Microsoft to sell more than 800 patents in a deal valued at nearly $1.1 billion. The deal is now complete and we are hearing that it actually consists of over 900 patents instead of the original 800 we first heard about from the Wall Street Journal.
Rather than reinvest their newfound wealth back into the company, AOL executives decided to use the funds to reward shareholders and repurchase stock. Investors will receive a one-time cash dividend of $5.15 per share for shareholders of record on December 5 that will be payable on December 14. They also plan to spend $600 million to buy back stock as part of an accelerated repurchase agreement with Barclays Bank.
The deal gets even more complex as Microsoft sold 650 of the reported 925 patents to Facebook for $550 million and have licensed out the remainder. The majority of the 925 patents are said to be related to the Netscape web browser. It’s worth noting that Microsoft is a shareholder in Facebook.
AOL had been under pressure for some time to do something with their patent portfolio. Speculation suggests that investors are responsible for convincing AOL to make the sale and in turn, return the money back to them.
Shares in AOL are up 2.95 percent as of writing following the news earlier today. Share value has more than doubled so far this year.