Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, could be weighing a bid for InterDigital, which put itself up for auction in July, Bloomberg reported.
The attraction to Intel, or any other buyer, would be InterDigital's 8,800 patents, many pertaining to the wireless sector. InterDigital announced its self-auction in July after seeing the $4.5 billion a syndicate led by Apple and Microsoft paid for wireless patents from Nortel Networks.
InterDigital, based in King of Prussia, Pa., could be valued as high as $5 billion. Its enterprise value is only $2.5 billion, though. Any bidder looks at that lower number.
Other prospective bidders include Samsung Electronics, Sweden's Ericsson and Taiwan's HTC, Bloomberg said.
A bid by Intel would mark a change because the company previously sold its wireless chip business to Marvell Technology for about $600 million. However, in the era of the tablet, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel has launched what it calls an iBook fund to invest in chips fo tablets and mobile platforms.
None of the prospective bidders would comment on the report. InterDigital's bankers are Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital.
InterDigital shares closed Friday at $64.28, down 4.2 percent in the overall downturn.