* Apple, Nokia and among others weighing bids -sources
* Google not formally out, unclear if it will bid -sources
* First round bids pushed back to after Labor Day-sources
(Adds background on wireless technology, process)
By Nadia Damouni and Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, Aug 17 Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Nokia
NOK1V.HE and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) are among several
technology companies pondering bids for InterDigital Inc
(IDCC.O), sources familiar with the situation said.
The auction of the wireless telecommunications specialist
-- expected to be heavily contested as giant tech companies
fight to shore up patent portfolios -- will be postponed from
next week until after Labor Day, the sources said.
Shares in InterDigital, which has a market value of about
$3 billion, leaped as much as 12.2 percent on the news. But it
quickly backtracked and was up $4.38 or 6.8 percent at $68.41
in afternoon trade.
Key potential bidder Google Inc (GOOG.O) has not formally
withdrawn from the auction but it is unclear whether the
Internet leader will bid for the company, the sources told
InterDigital is up for sale and is forging ahead with its
auction, despite Google agreeing to buy Motorola Mobility
Holdings Inc (MMI.N) for $12.5 billion [ID:nL3E7JF1LD]. That
triggered a 23 percent drop in InterDigital's shares on
First-round bids have been postponed because bidders asked
for more time to complete due diligence on the company's
patents, the sources said.
To make up for that delay, the King of Prussia,
Pennsylvania-based company expects to accelerate the second
round, the sources said.
Google's presence in the auction would be crucial to how
much InterDigital could fetch, an analyst said.
"The problem InterDigital has is that Elvis has left the
building. He's got his date," Deutsche Bank analyst Brian
Modoff also questioned whether any other technology
companies need InterDigital enough to pay the high price at
which its shares are currently trading.
He noted that Qualcomm already has a good portfolio of
patents, and so may not want to pay up for the business.
"The problem is finding somebody else to whom it's
necessary." Modoff said. "It could get acquired, but not at
where the stock is at (now)."
InterDigital's stock had soared last month on reports that
Google was in talks to buy the company. Bidders have been eager
to get their hands on the company's 8,800 patents -- including
crucial 3G and 4G/LTE patents to strengthen operating software
Some analysts have said that InterDigital has one of the
best quality patent portfolios that remains on the market after
bankrupt Nortel Network's sold its patents to a consortium led
by Apple and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) last month.
Just over 50 percent of the current 3G market is already
under license with InterDigital. Its partners include Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Apple, Research In Motion Ltd
RIM.TO and HTC Corp (2498.TW), among others. The company's 4G
portfolio is relatively unlicensed.
InterDigital hired Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital
on July 19 to explore strategic alternatives, including a
possible sale of the company.
InterDigital declined to comment. The other potential
bidders were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Nadia Damouni; editing by Gerald E. McCormick
and Gunna Dickson)