updated 06:10 pm EDT, Wed August 22, 2012
Apple, Samsung, LG, Google rumored to be allied for bidding
Eastman Kodak is scheduled to appear before federal bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper on August 30. Kodak is in the middle of an digital imaging patent portfolio auction to attempt to raise billions of dollars to pay back the lenders that supported it through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The August 30 hearing date suggests that Kodak expects to have the auction process wrapped up by August 23, as according to judicial instruction, the company has to give at least seven days notice of an auction conclusion hearing.
Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, and an assortment of other firms are bidding as a group on Kodak's digital imaging patents according to reports. While Apple has often been in conflict with Google and Samsung, and is a rival to LG, the strategy could keep the patents out of any one party's hands, preventing some potential lawsuits.
A deal for the entire Kodak portfolio on auction could be valued at over $500 million based on recent negotiations, sources say. While the amount is well over opening bids last week, it's also short of what Kodak was once estimating, between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion.
Kodak has stated that talks with potential patent buyers are still ongoing, and that it isn't ready to announce a result, but the court date announcement suggests that an announcement could be made soon. It could still refuse to sell some or all of the patents, although that may be unlikely, since the motivation for the auction is the company's recent bankruptcy.