Photo giant Eastman Kodak files for bankruptcy protection

The Takeaway

Eastman Kodak, the film giant that became synonymous with all things related to personal cameras, has filed for bankruptcy after the company failed to make a successful transition to digital photography.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., in recent months had tried to sell a number of its patents in order to raise capital to stave off a bankruptcy filing. Over the years, the company has eliminated products, halted services and laid off personnel as the bottom line sunk. But all of those efforts ultimately failed.

“Since 2008, despite Kodak’s best efforts, restructuring costs and recessionary forces have continued to negatively impact the company’s liquidity position,” Antoinette P. McCorvey, Kodak’s Chief Financial Officer, wrote in a bankruptcy court filing.

According to the New York Times, Citigroup has agreed to provide the company $950 million in financing so operations can continue during bankruptcy. The company will also continue to try and sell some or all of its 1,100 digital patents to raise capital.

The company’s future seems somewhat murky, however. The Times said the company has bet big on ink jet printers, but so far failed to see much improvement in that sector. So the company has bet big on its patents, seeing licensing fees from LG, Apple, HTC and other companies. It’s already reached agreement with LG and has lawsuits underway against others.

But the company has also divided itself into pieces that some experts say could be a sign that the company is considering selling parts of itself. It would be the final picture of a company that invented much of the consumer electronics industry that has developed since then.

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