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has put itself on the auction block, seven months after turning down an unsolicited bid by one of its main shareholders to buy the firm.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker said Wednesday that it has begun the process of seeking a buyer as the best way to enhance value for all its stockholders.

Transmeta also said it has reached a deal with


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, the world's No.1 chipmaker, to speed up annual licensing payments to Transmeta, transferring the brunt of the five-year plan's payments to Transmeta's coffers in one lump sum by the end of the month.

"Receiving these one-time payments strengthens our balance sheet and allows potential buyers to more accurately evaluate our company," said CEO Les Crudele in a statement.

Shares of Transmeta surged 26%, or $3.51, to $17.10 in extended trading Wednesday.

The move marks the latest -- and perhaps the final -- change of direction for Transmeta, which came into existence in the late 1990s as a maker of power-efficient microprocessors for laptop PCs. As Transmeta struggled to gain a foothold in the processor market, the company was forced to reinvent itself as an intellectual property shop, licensing its technology to other chipmakers.

While Transmeta struggled to lift its business out of what seemed a perpetual funk -- logging its first profitable quarter in years in August -- it achieved a couple of noteworthy milestones as an IP vendor, including a $25 million licensing deal with


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, and a crucial settlement with Intel, which Transmeta had sued for patent infringement.

Last year, Intel agreed to pay Transmeta an initial $150 million, as well as payments of $20 million a year between 2009 and 2013.

Transmeta said Wednesday that Intel will now pay it $91.5 million before the end of the current quarter.

In January, Riley Investment Management, which owned a 7% stake in Transmeta at the time, offered to buy the rest of the company for $15.50 a share and threatened to mount a proxy fight to get its way. Transmeta retained Piper Jaffray to evaluate the offer, which it eventually turned down, but it agreed in July to give Riley two seats on its board.

In Wednesday's announcement, Transmeta invites any interested buyers to contact Piper Jaffray directly to talk deal.