AOL recently announced the sale of over 800 patents and patent applications to Microsoft, and a non-exclusive license covering the rest of its retained patent portfolio. The sale price is $1.056 billion in cash.
The sale includes the stock of an AOL subsidiary, which allows AOL to offset the patent sales against a loss involving the subsidiary. Presumably, the subsidiary involves Mapquest, which AOL purchased in 1999 for $1.1 billion. According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Mapquest has well over 200 patents.
Mapquest supports OpenStreetMap, a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. Google Maps is the leading competitor in providing internet-based maps. The ability to connect corporate searches with maps is quite valuable, and no doubt drove the high price.