Prodigy Internet Brand Up for Sale

Prodigy, one of the oldest recognized brands on the Internet, is now up for sale, according to documents uncovered by CNET on Friday. Following the merger of SBC and AT&T, the combined company is looking for a suitor to purchase the Prodigy name and 66 registered trademarks across 52 countries.

According to the report, bids will be accepted starting later this month with the sale completing in March of next year. Ocean Tomo, an intellectual equity firm, will handle the bidding process for AT&T. The company expects strong interest in the name, especially from the Far East.

Ocean Tomo specializes in the region, looking for interest first in Asia before approaching European firms, according to the company's description on its Web site.

SBC is currently not using the Prodigy name for any of its products, and visiting the or .net Web sites direct users to SBC's DSL offerings through a joint venture with Yahoo. There are still some who use the Prodigy service for e-mail, however the company has not disclosed subscriber numbers.

Any sale would allow SBC to maintain its rights to the name within the U.S. for use as an ISP.

Prodigy was one of the earliest commercially available Internet services, formed in 1984 through a joint venture of IBM, Sears and CBS. In 1988, Prodigy Classic was launched, and the company has been credited with spurring the consumer Internet service industry into what it is today.

SBC purchased a 43 percent controlling interest in the company in 2000, and used Prodigy to market its Internet offerings before it landed a deal with Yahoo.

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