Kodak to Sell Consumer and Imaging Units, Refocuses on Commercial Printing
Eastman Kodak Company, the iconic film company, has announced changes to the company's core business model as it attempts to emerge from bankruptcy. On Thursday, Kodak said it has begun the process of selling off its consumer-focused Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses.
Kodak, which filed for chapter 11 business reorganization in January of this year, will be selling off the divisions focusing on consumer products, retail printing kiosks and image scanners for enterprises businesses. Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak Company, said he expects the sales to be completed by mid-2013.
"We are reshaping Kodak," Perez said in a statement. "We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing—in which we have the broadest portfolio solutions—and enterprise services. These businesses have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak."
"We are confident that our competitive advantages in materials science and deposition technologies, as well as our know-how in digital imaging, will enable us to capitalize on those opportunities and extend our leadership in key growth markets," he added.
Selling off the consumer units will mark the end of an era for the company whose name became synonymous with film. If the sale of the units is successful, the Kodak will have shed the last vestiges of its original business model. The company has stated that its plans for emerging from bankruptcy will see its business "primarily focused on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services."
The sale announcement is only the most recent of moves that Kodak has taken to reduce its debt and emerge from bankruptcy. In February, weeks after filing for chapter 11, the company announced that it would end its digital camera business, including video cameras and digital picture frames. Kodak had stopped production of its once-famous film cameras in 2004.
A month later, Kodak agreed to sell its online photo gallery services to Shutterfly, and revealed that it would begin auctioning off more than 1,000 digital patents valued at up to $3 billion. The auction for those patents began on August 8, and The Wall Street Journal reported that both Google and Apple placed bids, but that they were lower than expected.
On a press call, Perez declined to discuss the progress of the patent auctions or reveal the value of the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging units. Kodak will need to raise approximately $700 million to exit bankruptcy.
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.