AOL (NYSE: AOL) raced past its 52-week high this morning after the Internet company agreed to sell $1.1 billion in patents to fellow tech stock Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).
AOL’s stock had surged nearly 42% as of 10:23 this morning, reaching $26.14 per share – shattering the previous 52-week high of $22.47 and rising to its highest level since November 2010.
What’s really pushing the tech stock to heights not seen in 18 months is that AOL said it plans to return a large portion of the proceeds from its patent sale to shareholders. The company claims that the patent sale gives it an extra $15 per share in cash on hand.
The transaction won’t be completed until the end of the year, at which point AOL will decide exactly what to do with its extra cash. But judging by today’s big pop, investors are getting a jump on the tech stock’s increased value.
Last Thursday AOL closed out a Good Friday-shortened week at $18.42 a share. The stock is now up a whopping 73.7% in 2012.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is down just a tick – 0.9% – after shelling out so much money. For the $1.1 billion it paid, Microsoft reportedly acquires more than 800 patents and other related applications.
It’s unclear exactly what the patents cover, but they involve advertising, search, content generation, social networking and mapping technology.