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Aereo's Bankruptcy Fire Sale Raises Less Than $2 Million

DVR-maker TiVo picked up Aereo’s trademark and subscriber lists, according to a source.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Aereo, the Web TV company whose existence could have posed a threat to some of TV’s biggest players, is going out with a whimper: The company, which had raised around $100 million in venture capital, has sold off its assets in a bankruptcy auction that fetched less than $2 million.

“We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that,” Aereo attorney William Baldiga said in a statement.

According to a source familiar with the proceedings, DVR-maker TiVo bought Aereo’s trademark and subscriber lists; patent holding company RPX Corp. bought the company’s patents; and Alliance Technologies purchased Aereo’s equipment.

Aereo sold monthly subscriptions to a service that provided broadcast TV programming, which the company plucked out of the air using tiny antennas and then delivered over the Web. Since Aereo didn’t pay broadcasters or programmers for those shows, it was always destined for a legal showdown. Last summer, Aereo lost its fight in the Supreme Court on a 6-3 decision.

Following that loss, Aereo scrambled to find an alternate route, and briefly tried to argue that it was actually the equivalent of a cable TV provider. Last November, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Aereo founder Chet Kanojia and several of his former employees have already begun working on new ideas, via Project Decibel, a Boston-based lab.

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