WiLAN to Acquire a Second IIoT Company

May 5, 2017

Wi-LAN Inc. (WiLAN) has announced another acquisition in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) space—its second since recently unveiling plans to restructure its business model. WiLAN’s agreement to acquire VIZIYA comes as several other public NPEs, including Acacia Research Corporation and Finjan Holdings, Inc., have made attempts to diversify their business activities and move beyond patent assertion alone.

According to a May 4 press release, WiLAN will acquire Ontario-based VIZIYA for C$40.5M, “with nearly 60% paid on closing and the balance subject to certain earn out provisions if the business meets specific financial targets”. VIZIYA, which makes asset management software, reported revenue of C$16.6M for the year ended July 31, 2016.

WiLAN says it will fund the cash portion of the deal with cash and cash equivalents, which totaled C$151.2M as of March 31, 2017. That total does not account for WiLAN’s C$63.5M cash purchase of International Road Dynamics (IRD), a publicly traded Canadian IIoT company specializing in intelligent transportation systems. The IRD acquisition is expected to close on June 1.

WiLAN announced the IRD deal on April 17, the same day that it revealed that it intends to de-emphasize the patent licensing portion of its business. WiLAN will be renamed “Quarterhill Inc.” on or about June 1, and has said that it will continue its operations as a “key subsidiary of Quarterhill focusing on patent licensing”.

WiLAN is one of several publicly traded NPEs that have recently disclosed plans to shift away from patent monetization. See “Amid Announcement of a New Growth Strategy, Questions Remain About WiLAN’s Threat to Operating Companies” and “Finjan Forms Product Partnership with Security Company Avira Following $4.9M License Agreement” (April 2017).