TiVo’s purchase of certain assets from Aereo — the Internet TV streaming startup that was forced to shut down last year after losing a copyright-infringement case brought by broadcasters — for about $1 million has been approved by federal bankruptcy court.
TiVo is acquiring Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists. RPX Corp., a patent-aggregation firm, is paying $225,000 for Aereo’s patents, while Alliance Technology Solutions is buying the startup’s equipment for $300,000.
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The sales were officially approved March 11 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
“This strategic acquisition of Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists will enhance our ability to serve the growing segment of consumers who want access to both broadcast television and over-the-top content,” Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo, said in a statement. “TiVo has found success in providing a more comprehensive offering and sophisticated user experience than any other player in the marketplace, and we look forward to expanding on that success.”
Aereo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2014. The New York-based company had raised about $97 million from investors including IAC chairman Barry Diller, media investor Gordon Crawford, Himalaya Capital Management, Highland Capital Partners and FirstMark Capital.
Aereo’s service, which first launched in New York City in March 2012, streamed live over-the-air TV signals and recorded shows to subscribers on a range of devices starting at $8 per month. Aereo was promptly sued by broadcasters for transmitting their TV signals without permission.
The startup had argued that the service was a private performance, allowed under fair-use provisions of the Copyright Act, because the tiny antennas it used were dedicated to specific users.
Aereo won several legal victories in federal courts. But last June, the Supreme Court overruled those decisions, in a 6-3 ruling finding that Aereo had violated copyright laws. The high court essentially said the startup was akin to a cable TV operator, and hence was covered by the same laws.