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Hard-up Kodak stalls crown jewels sell-off to milk bidders

1,100 patents going for a mere few billion dollars

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Kodak, the poor-as-a-church-mouse photo biz, has decided to keep its patent auction fundraiser going for a while as it chats up bidders.

The firm, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is selling off its portfolio of digital imaging technology, containing some 1,100 patents, to pay off its creditors and reinvent itself as a printer company. Bidders include tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft, who are reportedly in the running to snap up the arsenal of intellectual property.

In a statement, Kodak said the auction was ongoing but wouldn't give any further details because the negotiations are confidential. The firm was scheduled to announced the winning bidder on Monday, well before a bankruptcy court hearing on 20 August.

Kodak reckons it can bag between $2.2bn and $2.6bn from the flogging its silverware, although it's rumoured that Apple, Microsoft and Google started off their negotiations with lowball offers.

The hard-up company hopes to be out of bankruptcy by early next year, and needs the money to make that happen.

As well as focusing in on its printing business, Kodak said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that it wants to expand its presence in the industrial packaging industry. ®

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