Aereo, Inc. will be permitted to auction off its live television streaming technology to the highest bidder in accordance with a December 24 order, signed by a New York bankruptcy court judge, approving a deal between Aereo and the broadcast television networks on the sale process.  

Five months after Aereo ceased operations in accordance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Aereo’s method of streaming live broadcast television programming over the web through a network of miniature antennas assigned to individual customers, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 21.  While prospects for a sale of the company are said to be bleak, counsel for Aereo has informed the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan that Aereo is conducting talks with seventeen prospective bidders that are interested in acquiring the company’s streaming technology.  In addition to prescribing rules for the auction, the order approves an agreement between Aereo and the broadcasters on the process by which Aereo will wipe clean its servers and the amount of time broadcasters will be given to oppose any sale that could infringe upon their copyrights.  

The order prescribes a bid deadline of February 20 with an auction date of February 24 if two or more bids are received.  Representatives of the CBS, NBC, CBS and Fox television networks will be allowed to attend the auction and will be provided with weekly updates on the status of the sale process.  The court is expected to conduct hearings on March 11 to approve terms of sale to the winning bidder.