Kodak extends patent auction deadline

Aug 13, 2012, 5:53 PM EDT
A sign at Eastman Kodak Co's corporate headqaurters in Rochester, NY, November 3, 2011,
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NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Eastman Kodak extended its patent auction on Monday, saying it was still indiscussions with bidders and said it would not announce thewinner as planned.

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in January, said in astatement that the auction is ongoing. It declined to commentfurther, citing confidentiality agreements.

Kodak said it would make more information about itsbusiness, including financial projections, public later onMonday in a securities regulatory filing.

Kodak, which has lost more than $600 million so far thisyear, began an auction of 1,100 digital patents last Wednesday.It had been scheduled to designate a winner on Monday ahead of aManhattan Federal Bankruptcy court hearing on Aug. 20.

The company, a pioneer in photography that has been unableto adapt to the shift to digital imaging, would use the moneyfrom the sale to pay back investors. It has borrowed nearly $700million in bankruptcy financing.

It is unclear how much the patent sale will raise. The WallStreet Journal reported on Friday that Apple Inc,Google Inc and Microsoft Corp made bids, butthey were significantly below $500 million, well below Kodakestimates. Kodak said early in 2012 that an outside firm hadestimated the value of its 1,100 digital patents at $2.2 billionto $2.6 billion.

Kodak's digital patents were grouped into two lots - one of700 patents and another of 400. They have been for sale for morethan a year, but the sale was complicated by the bankruptcy andlawsuits over the ownership and authenticity of the patents. Ithas litigation with companies, including Apple, Samsung and Research in Motion Ltd.

Kodak has said it wants to be out of bankruptcy by early2013. To stick to that timeline, it will need to present abankruptcy plan this fall.

The latest information released by Kodak about itspost-bankruptcy plans came in January, when it said thatdocument scanners and digital plates were among its corebusinesses and that it anticipated growth in consumer inkjet anddigital printing solutions.

Other businesses it said were no longer core were KodakGallery, an online photo sharing business it sold earlier thisyear and entertainment imaging and intellectual property.

It also needs to tackle costs. Kodak has 56,000 U.S.retirees whose health and other benefits such as life insurancehave not been negotiated in bankruptcy court yet.

The case is in Re: Eastman Kodak Co. et al, U.S. BankruptcyCourt, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.