After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, Aereo is now ready to auction off its assets to the highest bidder.
The Supreme Court effectively shut Aereo Inc. down in June when it ruled that the startup broke the law by freely transcoding and then streaming over-the-air TV to customers on the Internet. However, Aereo's technology didn't go away just because its business model disappeared, and the company believes its dime-sized TV antennas and transcoding tech still have value. After investors poured nearly $100 million into the startup, Aereo is hoping to recoup a percentage of the investment by selling off those assets. (See Last Chapter (11) for Aereo and Aereo CEO Trashes Pay-TV Model.)
The US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan agreed last week that Aereo could auction off its technology under certain conditions. Broadcasters -- including CBS, NBC and FOX -- must be given weekly updates on the auction process and be allowed to attend the final sale. The networks also have the ability to kill any deal up to two weeks after it's made if they believe Aereo's technology will be used for further illegal means.
Despite the conditions, it appears that numerous potential suitors are lining up at Aereo's door. News reports say that 17 bidders are currently in the running for Aereo's technology, which could theoretically be adapted for some other type of cloud-based TV service. Final bids are expected by February 20, with a deal possible several days later.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading