One of the persistent issues with utilization of intangible assets is what to do if the company fails. How do you liquidate intangibles? Here is Farhad Manjoo’s summary of what happened to the old Digg (in his review of the new Digg in Slate):
Digg’s staff was hired by the Washington Post Co. (which also owns Slate). The firm’s patents were purchased by LinkedIn. And the name and website were sold to Betaworks, the New York tech incubator that created a number of successful social media sites, including Bitly, Chartbeat, and TweetDeck. The Post Company and LinkedIn paid millions for Digg’s team and patents, but it was the amount that Betaworks paid for Digg’s domain that won headlines: just $500,000.
FYI – the reason given for the low sales prices of the domain name was that Betaworks had a strategy for reviving the site that the owners/founders of the old site approved.
So, the assets were divided into human capital, technology and brand — and each went separate ways. Interesting.