Aereo gets OK from bankruptcy court to auction technology assets

The bankruptcy court is allowing streaming service Aereo to auction off its technology assets.

Judge Sean Lane of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan made the decision Dec. 24, after Aereo carved out an agreement with the major broadcast networks that are suing the service.

The deal stipulates that the broadcasters can oppose any sale they feel could potentially revive Aereo as a disruptive force. It also gives the plaintiffs say in such things as when Aereo scrubs servers that are to be auctioned. Broadcasters will be delivered weekly updates and will also be allowed to attend the auction.

Aereo's bankruptcy lawyer told the court last week that the company is in talks with 17 potential bidders, with bids due Feb. 20. If multiple bids are rendered, an auction will take place Feb. 24 in New York.

Aereo, which raised $95.6 million in private equity from investors including Barry Diller's IAC Corp., is down to $3.6 million in cash and 12 remaining employees, court documents show.

But the case of the big broadcasting companies vs. the start-up that challenged their business model isn't entirely over: A lower court will now determine how much, if anything, Aereo owes to CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC.

For more:
- read this Reuters story
- read this Wall Street Journal story (sub. req.)

Related links:
Broadcasters want to make sure Aereo is really dead, seek to block asset sale
Aereo files for bankruptcy, closing a pioneering chapter in OTT streaming
Waiting for MVPD status, Aereo cuts way back
Aereo, FilmOn hopes rise again as FCC moves to redefine MVPDs