Kodak has found a buyer for its imaging patent portfolios, an important step for the company as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the first half of 2013.
Kodak has been pummeled in recent years as consumers switched to digital photography from film. It put its patents up for sale in July 2011, and analysts initially thought the portfolio could fetch between $2 billion and $3 billion because patents have become highly valuable to digital device makers who want to protect themselves from intellectual property lawsuits. But Kodak struggled to find a buyer.
Meanwhile, Kodak has been working to refocus its business on commercial and packaging printing, leaving behind its digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames businesses.
Here are key events in the recent history of Eastman Kodak Co.:
July 20, 2011 _ Kodak begins shopping around its 1,100 digital-imaging patents.
Sept. 27 _ Moody’s Investors Services downgrades all of its debt ratings for Kodak, citing ongoing weakness in the company’s core business operations and the likelihood that flagging demand will hamper results indefinitely.
Oct. 3 _ Kodak confirms it has hired Jones Day, a law firm that lists bankruptcies and restructuring among its specialties.
Oct. 16 _ Kodak says Imax Co is licensing thousands of patents covering laser projection technology, giving Kodak millions of dollars in revenue. The Kodak patents will allow Imax to provide high-quality digital content for theater screens larger than 80 feet and domed theaters for the first time. Screens that large had previously been limited to film content.
Dec. 22 _ Kodak says it has agreed to sell its gelatin business as it looks to boost its dwindling cash reserves. The product is used in photographic and printing processes as well as in food, pharmaceuticals.
Jan. 10, 2012 _ Kodak announces plans to realign and simplify its business to cut costs, accelerate its digital transformation and boost its share price. The new structure has two business units (commercial and consumer) instead of three (traditional film and photo paper products; consumer digital imaging; and graphic communications, which included printing equipment).
Jan. 19 _ Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to boost its cash position and stay in business.
Feb. 9 _ Kodak says it will stop making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.
Feb. 15 _ Kodak receives court approval to end its sponsorship deal with the Hollywood theater that is the venue for the Academy Awards. Kodak had signed a $74 million deal for naming rights to the theater in 2000. During the Feb. 26 Oscars ceremony, host Billy Crystal jokingly refers to the venue as “the beautiful Chapter 11 Theater.”
March 1 _ Kodak says it plans to sell its online photo service business to Shutterfly Inc. for $23.8 million.
April 27 _ Kodak says its first-quarter loss widened on a drop in sales and hefty charges related to its reorganization. Revenue fell 27 percent to $965 million, partially as a result of the company’s decision to stop selling digital cameras and focus on its other businesses.