Kodak Can Sell Its Patents in Bankruptcy, Judge Rules
By David McLaughlin – Jul 3, 2012 12:01 AM ET
Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ), the photography pioneer that seeks to sell digital-imaging patents, won court approval to auction the assets as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan said at a hearing yesterday that he would approve an order allowing a sale process for more than 1,100 patents.
Kodak is selling its digital-imaging patents as part of a plan to shrink the company and focus on printing rather than photography. Kodak says the patents relate to the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images.
The company, based in Rochester, New York, said in June that 20 parties had signed confidentiality agreements and have been given access to an electronic data room. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in January, hired Lazard Ltd. to find a buyer for the assets.
Kodak said it has generated more than $3 billion since 2001 from licensing the digital-imaging patents from users including Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), LG Electronics Inc. and Nokia Oyj. (NOK)
Under the sale process, interested buyers must submit bids by July 30, and if there’s more than one qualified bid, Kodak may conduct an auction Aug. 8, according to court papers. After the bid deadline, the company can engage in exclusive negotiations with a bidder and reach a sale agreement without prior notice to other bidders, according to court documents.
The identities of unsuccessful bidders will be kept secret from other bidders and the public, Kodak said. Only the winning bidder and the amount of the bid will be announced.
The case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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