On July 1st, a consortium consisting of Ericsson, Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony, and EMC bid $4.5 billion dollars to win Nortel's patent portfolio. This offer was well in excess of Google's stalking horse bid of $900M that was put before the bankruptcy court in August. I'd argue that 90% of the players in the distressed debt market felt the number would be larger than Google's offer (the bonds were implying a larger purchase price), but very few people thought the number would be as large as it turned out to be.
"On July 20th and 21st, 2011, the Reporting Persons discussed with the Issuer their view that the Issuer should explore alternatives regarding its patent portfolio to enhance shareholder value. The Reporting Persons believe that the Issuer's patent portfolio, which is substantially larger than Nortel Networks' and includes numerous patents concerning 4G technologies, has significant value. In addition, there may be multiple ways to realize such value given the current heightened market demand for intellectual property in the mobile telecommunications industry. The Reporting Persons intend to have further discussions with the Issuer. "