in Mergers and Acquisitions
by IPv4.GLOBAL Staff
During mergers or the acquisition of another organization, digital assets play an ever-expanding role. There is a greater variety of these assets to be considered and they play a more important role in business than at any time in the past. Technology develops at an exponential rate, creating new types of digital assets all the time, further complicating intangible asset valuation. Of course, their valuation, impacting a purchase or merger, has become more crucial, too.
Many digital assets have a clear developmental history and current role in their organizations making it clear what makes them valuable. However, there may be some “hidden” assets that require a bit more due diligence to evaluate their worth. In some cases, companies may not conduct this research and could be sitting on a veritable gold mine of digital assets, either as seller or potential buyer, they are not aware of. One asset in particular has seen a relatively recent – seemingly quiet – surge in value.
In short, anything that is stored digitally can be considered a “digital asset,” such as audio files, spreadsheets, slide shows, etc. Obviously, many of these do not hold significant monetary value, but are considered digital assets nonetheless. Here are some examples of more common digital assets of value:
- Blockchain Assets: Any tokens a company owns on a blockchain is considered a digital asset, including crypto currencies they’ve invested in, NFTs, and security tokens.
- Copyrights: Exclusive use and monetization of content sometimes has significant long-term value.
- Documents and Files: Though this isn’t necessarily true for all types, certain documents and files can hold some monetary value, such as digital artwork and manuscripts.
- Domains and Websites: There can be a lot of value in a well-known domain name, but also in websites that are cleverly designed and offer a lot of features.
- Social Media Handles: Social media platforms with a large, established following can be a particularly valuable asset, especially when it isn’t dependent on a particular individual/influencer.
- Patents: One of the many forms of IP that can be considered a digital asset. In a recent trend, patents are being tokenized as NFTs on blockchains.
- Trademarks and Trade Names: Similar to previous examples, a successful name will increase the value of a company or business to be acquired. Like patents, many companies have started turning these into digital assets by way of blockchain technology and NFTs.
There are plenty of other examples of digital assets with variable value, but there’s a particularly valuable one that is oftentimes “hidden” to companies as they’ve either been overlooked or are sitting around unused: IPv4 addresses.
The IPv4 format was the structure of the first IP addresses that were publicly used when the Internet was created in the early 1980s. However, the popularity of the Internet was underestimated, and the 32-bit structure of the IPv4 format did not allow for enough unique IP addresses for all of the devices that would eventually seek to connect. This led to IPv4 exhaustion, i.e. there were few if any IP address blocks available for distribution by the organizations managing the system.
Thankfully, the IPv6 format was created before the world hit IPv4 exhaustion, with a 128-bit structure that allows for such a large number of IP addresses that we won’t likely hit an exhaustion again. However, since so many connected devices and websites are built on the IPv4 infrastructure, there are compatibility issues and conversion costs to abandoning or integrating IPv4 with IPv6. So, there is a widespread reluctance for businesses to adapt the IPv6 format.
If companies want to expand their connected devices network without integrating with IPv6 or converting their entire network’s infrastructure to the IPv6 format, they must find more IPv4 addresses. These have become a scarce resource. It is this very demand that has driven the value of IPv4 addresses to unprecedented heights.
Currently, IPv4 addresses are worth as much as $58 per address. When looked at individually this may seem to be a small amount, but IP addresses are usually acquired in blocks, denoted by symbols such as /24 or /16. The larger the number after a “/,” the smaller the block, and the smallest blocks tend to be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars while the largest blocks can be valued in the tens of millions.
This means that, in the event of a company acquisition or merger, if an unused block of IPv4 addresses is acquired, chances are high that it holds significant value.
Finding buyers for IPv4 addresses can be difficult, as it takes time to find an interested party that is qualified, draw up legal contracts, negotiate terms, etc. To avoid these headaches (and potential pitfalls), the most common way businesses trade IPv4 addresses is through a broker. IPv4 brokers pair sellers with buyers, or vice versa, and allow listings of all sizes on their platforms while taking care of most legalities and regulations. Escrow services are used to manage payments between parties. Registered IPv4 brokers are trustworthy facilitators to transfer IPv4 address blocks between two interested parties.
For more information on IPv4 address value, or to buy or sell IPv4 addresses, visit https://ipv4.global/.