So you want to buy a company, but the bank won’t lend you money? Just pick up the phone and call Intellectual Ventures — the giant and secretive patent holding company will help finance the deal. All they want is a few patents out of the deal. No joke.
Intellectual Ventures’ financial backing in Novafora’s $250 million purchase of Silicon Valley’s Transmeta is just the first of many such deals, said IV’s Vincent Pluvinage, who commented on the deal for the first time Wednesday, months after we reported about it on Cal Law. In that deal, IV put up $11.6 million to help Novafora buy Transemeta. In exchange, we find out today, IV got 140 Transmeta microprocessor patents and a bunch of patent applications. (These are same patents that Transmeta used to get a $250 million settlement out of Intel and a $25 million licensing deal with Nvidia.) Pluvinage declined to comment on whether IV also paid Novafora some money for the patents.
IV plays banker, after the jump.
Pluvinage explained that with banks unwilling to finance deals these days, IV will be stepping in. “We have been perfecting last year a number of products or financial structures,” he told Legal Pad. Unlike a bank, though, IV doesn’t want interest payments, it just wants patents.
Not only is IV taking the place of investment banks, but the secretive company is actually going to be more public about the deals it does, Pluvinage said. “We are going to be much more public, in part because a lot of these transactions have to do with public companies,” he said.
So what is IV going to do with all of Transmeta’s patents? It will be licensing them to companies. And in case, you were on the fence about taking license, IV gently reminds the world in its press release (.pdf) that it has, oh about, 2,000 patents related to semiconductor patents.
— Zusha Elinson