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Best of the Blogs: AOL and Microsoft Make Billion Dollar Deal

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Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Use our comments section to post your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
Deal Book
"AOL agreed on Monday to sell a portfolio of over 800 patents, and license about 300 more, to Microsoft for $1.056 billion, amid an arms race within the technology industry over intellectual property. Under the terms of the transaction, AOL will retain a license for the patents it is selling, while Microsoft will receive a nonexclusive license for the technologies AOL is retaining. It is the latest big deal for patents, at a time when tech companies are amassing intellectual property rights as ammunition against competitors. Last year, Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, largely for its patent portfolio." (Also Read Why A Cynic Is Suddenly Bullish on Microsoft.)
Zero Hedge
"The shortfall in US labor union pension funds is huge and growing rapidly. The latest data, from 2009, from the PBGC showed that these multi-employer plans were 48% underfunded with $331bn of assets to support $686bn of liabilities - and it has hardly been a good ride for those asset values since then. Critically, as the FT notes today, recent changes by FASB has enabled Credit Suisse to estimate shortfalls more accurately and it paints an ugly picture. The critical difference between reality and what is being reported is the ability for firms to use actuarial 'facts' to discount liabilities or compound assets at a 7.5% annual growth rate - as opposed to the sad reality of a financially repressed investing environment where returns swing from +20% to -20% in a flash forcing all funds into market timers and not long-term buy-and-hold growth players." (For related content, see Did Northern Trust Lose $96 Million in Pension Funds?)
Bits
"AT&T said last month that when Nokia's new Lumia 900 phone went on sale April 8, it would benefit from the company's biggest product introduction ever, exceeding even the iPhone's.The big day is here. But nearly all 39 AT&T stores within proximity of Times Square in Manhattan were either closed for Easter Sunday or did not answer phone calls. The few that were open did not have the handset in stock." (Also Read Nokia Could Pull Off A Cinderella Comeback.)
All Things D
Link: Woof! Rover.com Fetches $3.4 Million to Be Airbnb for Dogs.
"Rover.com has raised $3.4 million to be the Airbnb of the dog-boarding market.
Rover is an alternative to dog kennels, much like Airbnb offers an alternative to staying in hotels. In addition to announcing the funding today, the Seattle company is also rolling out nationwide after supporting only a handful of test markets. On the business side, however, there's a big scale difference between the dog- and vacation-rental businesses."
Real Time Economics
"It's taking the unemployed longer to find a job, but it's also taking them longer to get discouraged and give up looking. Prior to the recession that began in 2007, the median length of time an unemployed person searched before finding a job was 5.2 weeks, according to research by Randy E. Ilg and Eleni Theodossiou of the Labor Department. The scarcity of available positions and large numbers of applicants pushed that number up to 10 weeks by 2011. That means that half of those who found jobs were hired less than 10 weeks since they lost their previous positions and it took longer than 10 weeks for the other half."

Twitter: @Minyanville

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