InterDigital shares dip after 3-day spike higher

All you have to do is mention Google or Apple to excite investors these days.

When King of Prussia's InterDigital said earlier in the week that it had retained investment bankers to consider various alternatives, including a possible sale, the stock price of the mobile-phone technology company naturally spiked.

Following InterDigital's Tuesday announcement, its shares climbed 28 percent, or $11.75, to $53.26.

The share price kept going up as various media outlets began reporting Google and Apple may be interested in buying InterDigital. Why would such tech darlings sniff around a nearly 40-year-old company once known as International Mobile Machines?

Well, the bankrupt Nortel Networks recently auctioned off its intellectual property related to wireless technology to a group led by Apple, raising a tidy $4.5 billion. Google started off by bidding $900 million.

So investors may be considering InterDigital as Round 2 in the wireless tech patent grab. On Wednesday, InterDigital shares rose 29 percent, or $15.41, to $68.67.

On Thursday, InterDigital shares hit $82.50 in intraday trading -- its all-time high. Shares closed at $74.27, just shy of its all-time high closing price of $75 on Dec. 31, 1999.

There's no guarantee that any deal will happen. After all, InterDigital management had said that it believed its patent portfolio was broader and more valuable than Nortel's. Are companies really going to want to pay more than $4.5 billion for InterDigital, which now has a market value of $3.29 billion?

I guess we'll find out. In trading Friday morning, InterDigital is down a bit, trading between $71 and $72 per share.