Intel buys $75 million worth of patents from Aware Inc.

Wi-Fi, LTE technology emphasized in Intel purchase

Aware Inc., a Massachusetts-based DSL signal processing specialist, announced this morning that it had agreed to sell $75 million in Wi-Fi, LTE and wireless home networking patents to semiconductor giant Intel.

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The sale initially boosted Aware's stock price substantially, and the company declared a special dividend of $1.15 per share -- presumably as a direct result of the Intel deal. The dividend will return approximately one-third of the proceeds from the sale to stockholders -- approximately $24 million.

The deal is apparently more or less finalized, though the company cautioned that it is still subject to regulatory approval and the usual closing conditions.

Simultaneously, Aware released its first-quarter financial report for 2012, showing total revenue of $5.7 million -- a decline of 10% compared to the $6.4 million the company made in the same time period last year.

Assuming an annual revenue of less than $23 million, based on Aware's quarterly report, it seems clear that a deal of these proportions represents a major sea-change for the company, which has just 74 full-time employees. Even without the roughly $24 million to be paid out as a dividend, the business may well have just tripled its annual cashflow.

Intel, in the wake of its much-publicized rollout of the new Ivy Bridge processor line earlier this week, has been in an acquisitive mood as far as intellectual property is concerned. The company announced on Tuesday that it had bought out supercomputer maker Cray's interconnect department for $140 million. In addition to IP, that transaction could see as many as 74 Cray employees move to Intel.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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