July 31, 2012
Companies interested in buying Kodak’s 1,100 patents were to submit their preliminary bids by five pm on 30 July, but will have to wait to hear the outcome, reports Democrat & Chronicle.
If Kodak receives multiple qualified bids, an auction will be held on 8 August, with the winner due to be announced by the company on 13 August. Kodak has so far refused to indicated the number of qualified bids it received.
Companies reportedly interested in the patents include Google Inc., along with “a consortium of Apple Inc., Microsoft Corporation and Intellectual Ventures”. While the patents are estimated to be worth $2.4 billion (€1.9 billion), Ken Luskin of Intrinsic Value Asset Management Inc. noted that they could fetch “more than $4.5 billion (€3.6 billion)” due to their potential in blocking competitors’ products such as smartphones and tablets.
Luskin added: “Kodak created the digital imaging industry. Kodak did all the foundational work. They have a tremendously powerful position.”
Although Luskin points out that the sale of Kodak’s patents “could mean sizeable returns to investors in the form of the stock price rebounding to several dollars a share”, others are sceptical of the idea that the sale could rescue the company, with Christopher Carosa, President of Bullfinch Fund commenting: “It‘s like selling the fruit trees instead of the fruit. Where are they going to go from there? They’re not making film, they’re not going to have the patent license income anymore. Are they going to become a land management company?”
The sale of Kodak’s patents is crucial to the company’s future after it filed for bankruptcy in January. Kodak also recently lost an appeal against Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) after it accused the companies of infringing on one of its patents, losing out on a further $1 billion (€814 million) in royalties it had hoped to claim.
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