Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy


Unable to sell off some of its 1,100 patents to stay out of debt, Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy-protection filing. If successful, Kodak will have sold 10 percent of the company's patent portfolio, and will have potentially generated $3 billion in sales.

Currently, Kodak has obtained $950 million in financing from Citibank to maintain operations, which will allow the company to operate during the bankruptcy process. A filing could occur as soon as this month, the company said.

Kodak said upon filing that it had more than 100,000 creditors, with debts totaling $6.75 billion. This debt announcement is not a huge surprise, considering that the company has posted only one full-year profit since 2004.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based photography giant has seen its workforce shrink dramatically, from 63,900 workers nine years ago to just 19,000 people today. With the filing, Kodak will sell its portfolio of 1,100 patents through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction.

Kodak will also be able to shed some pension and health-care obligations to retirees, which cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Since November, Kodak's shares have closed under $1 for 30 consecutive trading days, despite the company’s efforts in 2011 to stay solvent by selling patents.

Kodak is following the lead of telecommunications company Nortel Networks Corp. In 2010, Nortel’s patents were sold for $4.5 billion.