updated 11:36 pm EDT, Thu August 16, 2012
Bids reportedly significantly less than expected
After fighting in court for more than a year, Eastman Kodak is now saying it may sell only some of its patents, or none of them at all. The company is currently in the eighth day of a no-minimum-bid, blind-bidder patent auction that was scheduled to end earlier this week, but was extended on August 13.
Kodak said in a statement that it "“had not reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio, and may retain all or parts of it," presumably based on final bid price falling short of estimations. If kept, the patents would somehow be leveraged to repay its $950 million credit line it was given after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Under the terms of the agreement, money raised from this sale was to go to repaying the lenders. Kodak claims to have never been obligated by the agreement to sell the patents.
At least two major groups are expected to have bid on Kodak's patent auction. Microsoft, Apple, and "patent troll" Intellectual Ventures are allegedly lining up on one side. Google is said to be headlining a group with Samsung, HTC, LG, and non-practicing entity RPX.
The more valuable lot is expected to be the digital-capture portfolio related to capturing and processing images on cameras, smartphones and tablets. Also for sale is the Kodak imaging systems and services portfolio that includes patents for storing and analyzing images. The company has claimed the patents could be worth up to $2.6 billion, but reports put current bids between $150 million and $250 million.