Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- InterDigital Inc., an owner of wireless-technology patents, rose in late trading after reporting third-quarter sales that topped analysts’ estimates and saying it’s still weighing a possible sale.
Sales fell to $76.5 million, exceeding $72.1 million, the average prediction in a Bloomberg survey. Profit dropped to $26.2 million, or 57 cents a share, the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement yesterday.
InterDigital is benefiting from demand for the wireless technology covered by its portfolio of about 1,300 patents. Investors were encouraged by the company’s announcement that it’s still exploring a possible sale, said Steve Isenberg, chief executive officer of M Partners Inc.
“It’s great news that they continue to mull options, and great news that the business is doing well,” said Isenberg, whose firm is based in Toronto. “They have a portfolio of amazing patents, tools of the next competitive battle in communications.”
InterDigital said in July that it hired Evercore Partners Inc. and Barclays Capital to explore a sale of the company or another transaction.
The board “continues to thoroughly explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives for the company, which may include a sale or other transaction,” Chief Executive Officer William Merritt said in the statement.
The company’s stock rose to as high as $48.89 yesterday after the results were released. It had slipped 4.4 percent to close at $45.15 in New York, leaving it down 40 percent since reaching a record in August. The decline reflected concern that bids may not materialize.
While results topped estimates, sales and profit fell from a year earlier. Revenue slid 17 percent, while profit dropped 26 percent from $35.5 million, or 79 cents a share.
A group led by Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. agreed earlier this year to buy Nortel Networks Corp.’s patent portfolio for $4.5 billion. InterDigital has said its intellectual property is more valuable than the patents auctioned off by Nortel.
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