January 24, 2018 / 8:51 PM / a year ago

Exclusive: RPX Corp explores potential sale - sources

(Reuters) - RPX Corp RPXC.O, a U.S. provider of patent management services, is exploring a sale as part of a review of its options, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move comes one year after RPX CEO John Amster stepped down when he failed to convince the board of directors to allow the company to be taken private. Amster was succeeded as CEO by the company’s general counsel Martin Roberts.

RPX has now hired an investment bank to run a sale process for the company, which has attracted interest from private equity firms, the sources said this week. There is no certainty that RPX will agree to any deal, the sources added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. RPX did not respond to a request for comment.

RPX shares rose as much as 11 percent on the news and ended trading at up 3.0 percent at $13.93 on Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of $650 million.

Based in San Francisco, RPX is one of the largest buyers of patents, having spent more than $3.5 billion to buy more than 18,500 patent assets to date.

Companies concerned about the cost of patent litigation pay subscription fees to join RPX’s network, which then shields them from lawsuits on these patents. RPX also provide patent litigation insurance, as well as market intelligence on patents.

The company been looking for ways to boost its relatively flat earnings. RPX reported total revenue of $85.7 million for the third quarter of 2017, compared to $88.5 million in the third quarter of 2016. Adjusted net income was $10.9 million versus $12.7 million a year ago.

(This version of the story was refiled to add the dropped word ‘down’ in paragraph two)

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay

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