Kodak to sell key patents for $525M

Posted at 12/19/2012 11:48 PM | Updated as of 12/19/2012 11:48 PM

NEW YORK - US photography giant Eastman Kodak said Wednesday it had agreed sell its digital imaging patents for $525 million to help it emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Kodak said 12 intellectual property licensees, led by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, will buy the patents.

"This monetization of patents is another major milestone toward successful emergence" from bankruptcy, said Antonio Perez, Kodak's chairman and chief executive.

"Our progress has accelerated over the past several weeks as we prepare to emerge as a strong, sustainable company. This proposed transaction enables Kodak to repay a substantial amount of our initial (bankruptcy financing) loan, satisfy a key condition for our new financing facility, and position our Commercial Imaging business for further growth and success."

The US photography pioneer, which filed for bankruptcy in January, said it plans to reduce its workforce by some 1,200, wind down sales on consumer inkjet printers, and sell its consumer film business.

Kodak intends to focus on its digital printing and enterprise unit, and on another segment including graphics, entertainment and commercial films.

The company, started in 1892, led the way in popularizing cameras, film, slide projectors and home videos, which preserved the memories of generations of Americans and others around the world.

At its height in the 1980s, the company had 145,000 workers. But it has struggled in the age of digital cameras, and years of poor performance had already forced it to lay off thousands and close 13 manufacturing plants and some 130 processing labs since 2003.