Openwave Systems to sell core businesses

Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:41pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Openwave Systems Inc, which makes software for mobile phones, said it will sell its core service mediation and messaging products businesses to a private equity firm.

The company, which has patents covering smart devices, cloud technologies and unified messaging that enables mobile devices to connect to the Internet, had earlier hired Jefferies & Co to help it explore strategic options.

As consumers increasingly access the Internet on their mobile devices, driving data usage and e-commerce, companies have scrambled to monetize their intellectual property related to these technologies, a recent example being AOL Inc's $1 billion patent deal with Microsoft.

Openwave's service mediation and messaging products businesses accounted for 58 percent of its first-quarter revenue, and is expected to fetch between $60 million and $120 million, according to analysts.

The buyer, a California-based private equity firm called Marlin Equity Partners, plans to rename the acquired businesses Openwave Mobility and Openwave Messaging, the companies said in a statement.

Openwave, whose software allows telecom operators like Sprint Nextel and AT&T give their customers wireless access to data and applications, has already sold its location business to India-based Persistent Systems Ltd.

The company will rename its remaining business Unwired Planet and remain a publicly traded company after the deal closes this month.

(This has been corrected in paragraph 1 to clarify that the company is only selling its service mediation and messaging products businesses but not patents)

(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)