Friday, August 17, 2012

Eastman Kodak Company (PINK:EKDKQ) May Not Sell its Patents After All

Bankrupt camera company Eastman Kodak Company (PINK:EKDKQ) said on Friday it had not made up its mind whether to sell its digital patents or not and may even decide to retain all or part of them.

The company, a pioneer in the field of photography, has been trying to auction about 1100 digital patents to raise funds to pay down its debt and come out of bankruptcy.

“[Kodak] has not reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio, and may retain all or parts of it as a source of creditor recoveries in lieu of a sale if it concludes that doing so is in the best interests of the estate,” the company said in a statement.

There have been reports that an auction that began last week to sell the patents was not going as well as expected with bids coming in much below the estimated price of 42 billion.

The auction was to end on Monday but Kodak extended it without specifying for how long it had been extended.

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The Wall Street Journal had reported that initial bids from two groups - one led by Apple and the other by Google - had come in for only 500 million.

Kodak has also not revealed any details about the auction or the bids that have come in and had said that it continues to have discussions with potential buyers of its patents. It has also suggested that extension of the auction was due to demand from them.

But it’s going to be tough for Kodak to just pack up and go home. Not only is the company bleeding cash, but it also has to repay banks like Citi Group that gave it $950 million to finance its bankruptcy debts.

Shares in Kodak, which is under court-led restructuring, were down 9.35 percent at 19 cents. The shares have lost 70 percent of their value in the year to date.

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