Openwave (OPWV), the software company that describes itself as “the inventor of the mobile internet,” is selling its mediation and messaging businesses to private equity group Marlin Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum. Going forward the company will call itself Unwired Planet and will focus on managing its rich patent portfolio. Late last year Microsoft became the first company to license Openwave’s portfolio of more than 200 patents.
Openwave’s software helps wireless operators connect customers to the cloud. CEO Mike Mulica has described product bookings as disappointing, and his response has been to split the company into three business units: mediation, messaging and intellectual property. He announced in February that the “mediation and messaging business units are now optimized for a potential sale.” Mulica sees great potential in his company’s patent portfolio, which cover a range of innovations related to smart devices, cloud technologies and unified messaging. The company has sued both Apple and Research in Motion for patent infringement.
Marlin Equity will operate the two businesses it is buying as Openwave Mobility and Openwave Messaging, and will retain their current management teams. The private equity group says it will be able to make the necessary investments to enable these businesses to deliver “market-leading, carrier-grade solutions.” Marlin Equity Partners is a Los Angeles firm with more than $1 billion of capital under management. Marlin has completed more than 50 acquisitions through its funds and related companies.
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