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Kodak's new life to begin in September

Smile and say 'B2B' as judge okays bankruptcy exit

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Eastman Kodak will officially restart operations on September 3, after a Manhattan judge signed off on the last aspects of its reorganisation plan.

Last week, Judge Allan Gropper flipped the bird at disgruntled shareholders, who believed they should recover something from the smoking ruins of the once world-dominating photography business. The judge ruled in favour of staff, retirees and small suppliers, who will get a pittance rather than absolutely nothing.

As noted by Forbes, the “new Kodak” will have nearly nothing in common with the brand-that-once-was. Its focus will be corporate imaging and printing, which it apparently expects to be less viciously competitive than the digital camera business it helped to invent.

Kodak's failure to compete in the digital world saw its revenue more than halved from $US13.3 billion in 2003 to $6 billion in 2011, and its workforce shrink from nearly 64,000 to about 17,000.

Forbes says the new Kodak will have a projected equity value of $US441 million. Most of the equity in the company – 85 percent – will go to “second-lien claims”, and 15 percent will be put into a pool for unsecured creditors.

Meanwhile, the ghosts of the old Kodak will probably stalk the tech industry in the form of patent lawsuits. In March, the company flogged most of its patent portfolio for $US527 million, with Apple, Google and Samsung among the 12 licensees organised by Intellectual Ventures. The group also includes Adobe, RIM, HTC, Huawei, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. ®

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