- - Monday, April 23, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — A half-billion-dollar patent deal between Facebook and Microsoft was announced on Monday as the social network hardened its defenses ahead of going public with a stock offering on the Nasdaq.

Facebook Inc. said it would pay Microsoft Corp. $550 million for some of the patents the software giant recently acquired from AOL.

Facebook will pick up about 650 of the 925 patents Microsoft bought earlier this month in an auction from AOL in a nearly $1.1 billion deal, Facebook and Microsoft said in a statement.

Facebook’s general counsel called the move “another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook’s interests over the long term.”

“Today’s agreement with Facebook enables us to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction,” said Microsoft Executive Vice President Brad Smith.

Facebook also arranged to license the remaining 275 remaining patents or applications in the portfolio being bought by Microsoft, which gets the right to use the patented technology going to the California-based social network.

“Today’s agreement with Microsoft represents an important acquisition for Facebook,” general counsel Ted Ullyot said.


Struggling airline gets OK from Cabinet to go private

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait’s Cabinet has approved a draft law to privatize struggling state carrier Kuwait Airways within three years.

Minister of Communications Salem al-Uthaina told the official Kuwait News Agency late Sunday that the measure calls on the airline’s board to sell a 35 percent stake to the highest bidder.

The draft law has been referred to the country’s legislature.

An attempt to privatize the airline fizzled last year when the Cabinet recommended the airline be restructured before pursuing the sale of a 35 percent stake.

The airline is hurting financially as it struggles to compete with newer rivals such as Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways.


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