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Yahoo offering more than 3,000 patents amid strategic reviews

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Yahoo! Inc is exploring the sale of more than 3,000 patents as part of an effort begun earlier this year to look into ways to monetize its intellectual property.

[SAN FRANCISCO ]Yahoo! Inc is exploring the sale of more than 3,000 patents as part of an effort begun earlier this year to look into ways to monetize its intellectual property.

The company has extended efforts on the divestiture of patents and pending patents held by its Excalibur LLC unit that include search, advertising and cloud-based technology, the company said in an e-mailed statement. There is no reserve price or guidance.

Yahoo said earlier this year it would review the disposal of non-strategic assets, including patent and real estate holdings. At the time, it said proceeds could be US$1 billion to US$3 billion.

Under chief executive officer Marissa Mayer, the company is reviewing its core internet assets after pressure from investors and a failed turnaround. Bidders have included TPG, Verizon Communications Inc and a consortium led by Bain Capital LP and Vista Equity Partners LLC, people familiar with the matter have said.

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Berkshire Hathaway Inc chairman Warren Buffett is also backing a group bidding for Yahoo's web assets, people familiar with the matter have said.

Yahoo has hired boutique investment bank Black Stone IP to sell the patents with bids due by mid-June, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Sunnyvale, California-based company is retaining more than 1,000 patents with its core business.

"This represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to web search and advertising," the company said.

"This divestiture is in line with our efforts to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company with the goal of maximising value through the sale of non-core patent assets for our shareholders."

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