What: Shares of Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ:ROVI) were up 33% as of 11:00 a.m. EST Wednesday after the personalized entertainment IP company renewed and expanded its patent-license agreement with AT&T (NYSE:T).
So what: Rovi describes the seven-year renewal as "comprehensive" in offering AT&T worldwide access to its portfolio of over 5,000 issued and pending entertainment discovery patents. And without offering specific details, Rovi noted the "deal also extends the existing product agreements between the companies."
Rovi CEO Tom Carson added, "Our long-term patent license renewal with AT&T is another testament to Rovi's market leading innovation in advancing consumers' ability to discover, engage and enjoy entertainment content on multiple screens."
Now what: For perspective, that bit of chest-thumping arrives with shares of Rovi still down more than 30% year to date in 2015, thanks in no small part to Rovi's weak Q3 results released in October, which fell significantly short of analysts' expectations. Even so, Rovi reaffirmed its full-year guidance at the time, leaving investors to worry over whether it was truly on track to meet those goals.
In addition, keep in mind Rovi is still appealing a negative court decision from a pre-emptive lawsuit brought by Netflix earlier this year, in which a Northern California Judge threw out all five patents questioned by the video streaming titan's case. So today's enormous renewal with a company of AT&T's stature bolsters Rovi's case that its intellectual property business is more ironclad than indicated by Netflix's challenge.
With that in mind, it's hard to blame Rovi investors for bidding up shares today. Personally, however -- and keeping in mind Rovi's last quarterly miss came despite it closing major license agreements with both Time Warner Cable and European cable giant Sky -- I'm content to watch Rovi's progress from the sidelines. If it can demonstrate in the coming quarters that these kinds of deals can serve to support sustained, profitable growth, only then might I consider Rovi stock as a viable long-term investment.