US mobile patent holder InterDigital said it has “initiated a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives for the company, which may include a sale or other transaction.” In a statement, Terry Clontz, chairman of InterDigital’s board of directors, said that “we continue to be optimistic about the prospects for the company under its current business plan. That said, over the past year we have seen the value of intellectual property rise substantially as major players in the mobile industry increasingly understand the strategic and economic value of this type of asset.” According to its website, the company has almost 9,000 US and foreign patents issued, and another 10,000 in progress around the world. Unsurprisingly, Google was suggested as the most likely suitor for InterDigital, following its failure to secure the patent portfolio owned by Nortel Networks – Google has previously said it needs to bolster its patent arsenal in order to better defend itself against attacks from rivals. InterDigital is also likely to draw attention from a number of other potential buyers, including the other bidders in the Nortel auction.

According to Reuters, the value of InterDigital’s stock climbed by 26 percent, raising its value by US$500 million. In addition to investors reacting to its new plan, the company also saw an uplift after the sale of the Nortel patents indicated the value currently being placed on mobile patents. InterDigital currently has a market capitalisation approaching US$2.5 billion. For the first quarter of 2011, it reported a net income of US$23.3 million, down 52 percent from US$48.8 million year-on-year, on revenue of US$78.5 million, down 33 percent from US$116.2 million. Customers accounting for more than 10 percent of its sales during the period were Samsung, RIM and HTC. The company said it “continues to have discussions with industry-leaders in mobile technologies, including LG, for new, renewed and extended license agreements covering 2G, 3G and 4G technologies and a variety of connected devices.” For the second quarter, it anticipates revenue of around US$69 million, excluding the impact of any new deals, with the company affected by a decrease in revenue from its Japanese customers and a transition in the model used for one of its existing contracts.