Yahoo plans to sell about 3,000 patents worth over $1 bn

Yahoo Inc plans to sell about 3,000 patents, a move that may fetch the once dominant internet giant over $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move comes three months after Yahoo, run by CEO Marissa Mayer, said it would explore the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and non-core assets.

The company has sent letters to a range of potential buyers for the patents, which date back to Yahoo's initial public offering in 1996 and include its original search technology, the report said.

Yahoo has set a mid-June deadline for preliminary bids, and has hired Black Stone IP, a boutique investment bank that specialises in patent sales, to run the auction, the report added.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company plans to retain over 1,000 patents and pending applications in the US and abroad related to its core Internet business.

''This represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to web search and advertising," the company said. ''This divestiture is in line with our efforts to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company with the goal of maximizing value through the sale of non-core patent assets for our shareholders.''

The 2,659 patents held by its subsidiary Excalibur IP LLC, includes search, advertising and cloud-based technology.

Yahoo, whose shares have fallen about 30 per cent since the end of 2014, has been under intense pressure from investors to revive its revenue growth.

Earlier this year, Yahoo cut 1,700 jobs or 15 per cent of its workforce, and closed online video hub, which it had once envisaged to be a rival to Netflix and YouTube.

Despite being an early leader in internet search, Yahoo had failed to consolidate its lead and fell behind rivals Google and Facebook who have captured a major chunk of online and mobile search and ad markets.