By Nick Brown
NEW YORK Aug 23 Eastman Kodak Co
said on Thursday it plans to sell most of its consumer and
document imaging businesses and shift its focus to commercial
printing as it works to emerge from bankruptcy.
The once-dominant photography firm, already in the midst of
auctioning off its digital patent portfolio, hopes to complete
the sales by mid-2013, Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a
conference call on Thursday.
The company needs to raise nearly $700 million to pay back
its creditors and exit bankruptcy, and initially hoped its
patent sale would generate at least that much. But more than two
weeks into its auction and still without a deal, the company may
be looking for other ways to raise cash.
"For ensuring sufficient funding for successful emergence
(from bankruptcy), the sale of these businesses is important in
that regard," Perez said on the call.
Kodak went bankrupt in January, unable to adapt to the shift
to digital imaging.
The businesses to be sold are Kodak's personalized imaging
business, which includes most consumer products and retail
printing kiosks, and its document imaging business, which makes
scanners for enterprise customers.
Perez declined to comment on the progress of the patent
sale. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that
initial bids, including from Apple Inc and Google Inc
, came in lower than expected.
The auction began on Aug. 8 and had been scheduled to wrap
up by Aug. 13, but Kodak extended the deadline as talks
continued without a buyer.
The newly-announced sales would mean that Kodak would emerge
from bankruptcy as a different company than when it went in,
with less of a focus on consumer and retail, and heavier
attention to commercial, packaging and functional printing.
"You can't succeed these days without focusing in certain
areas and putting all your money in areas that are synergetic
with each other," Perez said, adding that he believes Kodak is
"as strong or stronger" in the commercial space as in the
Perez would not reveal the estimated value of the businesses
to be sold.
The bankruptcy is in Re: Eastman Kodak Co. et al, U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.