On Monday, the 11th, Kodak was supposed to announce the winner of the auction of Kodak’s digital patents. Instead they announced that the auction would be extended. The auction is totally closed but that didn’t stop the speculation from stopping. News outlets repeated an article from the Wall Street Journal from the week before that said that the initial bids that Kodak received were around $500 million. Kodak had expected to receive from $2 billion to $3 billion for the patents. Again, an important point is that the auction is totally closed. No other news organization has independently confirmed the WSJ report.
Then on Wednesday Kodak said it hasn’t reached a decision to sell the patents and may hold on to all or part of of the payents if the company decides “doing so is in the best interest of the estate.” That may be a clue that the bids were lower than desired. Another article in the WSJ suggested that instead of bidding against each other; groups headed by both Apple and Google are attempting to purchase the patents as a consortium. Again, that article sites unnamed sources as the auction is supposed to be closed.
Kodak really needs to sell the patents to pay off creditors. The patents continue to earn royalties from other companies but that amount would decrease over time as the technology changes.
In other news…
Kodak on Wednesday filed a motion with the Bankruptcy Court for approval of contracts with major movie studios; Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC Universal & Paramount. The agreements include price increases for film as well as provisions that Kodak will repay money owed to the studios and will also continue supplying film at least through 2015. The hearing on this motion will be heard on Sept. 19th. This should easily be passed by the Bankruptcy Judge.
If you are looking to buy a Kodak digital camera, you should act now. Kodak announced in February that they would no longer be selling digital cameras. On the Kodak website all cameras are listed as either “no longer available” or “out of stock.” They will be getting hard to find. The biggest advantage of a camera as opposed to using one on a phone is better resolution. Retail and online sellers will probably run out of stock by Christmas.