Patent reports: Apple, Google boost InterDigital to $5B

"Patents are becoming so valuable that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. may have to pay a 50 percent premium to buy InterDigital Inc., even after a decision to put itself up for sale sparked a 72 percent jump in the stock," Bloomberg reports here. More on InterDigital's recent jump in value from my colleague Mike Armstrong here.

InterDigital, headed by Gilbert Amelio and widely-held by Vanguard Group, Blackrock, JPMorgan, Susquehanna International and other big investment and trading firms,  employs about 300 engineers and other professionals at its King of Prussia headquarters and other sites.

"InterDigital, whose engineers invented some of the technology for high-speed mobile phone networks now used by the world’s biggest handset makers, has gained $1.4 billion since saying last week it hired banks to explore options including a sale." It could be worth "more than $5 billion," Bloomberg reports, citing analysts at Algorithm Capital and Dougherty & Co. "That would be the most expensive deal in the wireless equipment industry relative to earnings in more than a decade...

"Apple and Google are vying to obtain exclusive rights to the inventions used in almost every device from the iPhone to Google’s Android-based handsets and Research In Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry as smartphone demand is forecast to more than double by 2015. Owners of InterDigital, worth just $1.2 billion a year ago, now stand to profit from the company’s 8,800 patents after Google lost a bidding contest last month for bankrupt Nortel Networks’ licenses. A group including Apple agreed to pay $4.5 billion -- a fivefold increase from Google’s initial bid."