Aereo was expecting to sell its assets for at least $4 million (and up to $31 million) at a bankruptcy auction, following its loss in a protracted legal battle against broadcasters. Sadly, luck wasn't on its side yet again: the company has managed to raise a mere $2 million from the auction, which has only attracted 10 bidders. "We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that," one of Aereo's lawyer's, William Baldiga, said in a statement. The company has long planned to use the amount it will raise from the event to pay its creditors, and $2 million might not be enough.
One of the buyers is DVR company TiVo, which snapped up Aereo's trademark and customer lists. Other assets sold include its patent portfolio and old equipment. The New York City-based startup began offering people a different kind of TV service back in 2012. It rented out tiny remote antennae in its headquarters, which transmitted live TV to customers' laptops and mobile devices. Also, it recorded shows on DVR machines for customers who wanted to watch them later on.
Due to the services it offered, broadcasters argued in court that it was operating as a cable company without asking for permission and paying fees. And because it employed a novel technology, even the US government wasn't sure whether to classify it as a cable company or not for quite some time. The Supreme Court decided that it was indeed a cable company that was violating copyright laws, before completely banning it from streaming live TV.
In November last year, the startup filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as the legal fees it had to pay was bleeding its coffers dry. It apparently even had to fight for the right to sell its assets, as broadcasters opposed the liquidation, worried that other companies will end up buying and then using them again, thus repeating the cycle. Besides the assets it has sold in this auction, Aereo also offloaded 8,200 hard drives used for its DVRs last week for $300,000 -- after broadcasters made sure all their contents were deleted, of course.
[Image credit: AP]