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Rockstar patent sale could net Apple $392 million in March quarter

The sale of patents owned by the Rockstar Consortium of companies could bring a windfall of $392 million in additional cash to Apple's March quarter, estimates from one analyst predict.

Rockstar Consortium Logo


Apple originally paid the lion's share for a series of patents purchased by the companies acquired from Nortel. The iPhone maker accounted for 58 percent, or $2.6 billion, of the $4.5 billion that was spent as part of the deal.

RPX completed the purchase of Rockstar for $900 million earlier this year, shedding 4,000 patents and ending ongoing lawsuits in the wireless industry. Following the sale, consortium member BlackBerry reported a gain of $115 million, and the Canadian smartphone maker originally paid $770 million —or 17 percent —of the original purchase.

Using these figures as a baseline, analyst Maynard Um of Wells Fargo calculated that Apple could see a gain of about $392 million in the March quarter. That would equate to about 5 cents in the company's earnings per share, he said.

Um also sees the sale of the Rockstar patents as an indication of a less litigious wireless industry, which he sees as a positive for everyone involved. Previously, mobile companies were engaged in a broad series of lawsuits that spanned across the globe.

Exactly how much Apple took home from the Rockstar patent sale will likely be revealed on April 27, when the iPhone maker is scheduled to reveal the results of its second fiscal quarter of 2015.