Kodak Bankruptcy: Company's B2B Transition


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Eastman Kodak Company, in a 20 August decision filed by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, received approval for a reorganization plan that may eject Kodak from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as 3 September. Kodak filed under Chapter 11 on 19 January 2012. In the interim, Kodak has been at work selling off what it could to resolve creditor debts. This offloading includes the Kodak digital imaging patent portfolio for $527 million, less than a third of what was originally anticipated. The largest creditor settlement was with the UK Kodak Pension Plan, resolved by selling the company’s personalized and document imaging businesses to the Plan for $650 million.

Kodak shareholders are walking away without their investment dollars. The Court denied a shareholder motion for an equity committee to investigate concerns that the company was undervalued and shareholders were being inadequately represented. As stated in the Court Memorandum: “The Court recognizes that if Kodak’s current plan is confirmed, its shareholders will lose their entire investment… its creditors, who include employees who may have lost their jobs, retirees who worked for Kodak for their entire careers, and small suppliers who may have been dependent on Kodak for their business, will also suffer great losses.”

Kodak is spinning the development as a step in the right direction for intended reorganization objectives. Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and CEO, says of the planned transformation to a B2B company, “Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets—such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services.” We should note that Kodak has already announced that Perez will see Kodak through the bankruptcy but, come 2014, will step down from his position as CEO.

Since January 2012, Kodak has worked on their social media presence. For the general public, company social media sites are promoting forward-looking creative content rather than tugging at Kodachrome heartstrings—though a B2B transition makes one wonder about future audience interfaces. Current campaigns include Picture of the Day, promotions of World Photography Day (19 August apparently) and the Kodak 1000 Words Blog where “the people of Kodak,” can share their own stories and enthusiasm about, “imaging and its power to influence our world”—contributors appear primarily to be company execs.

World Photography Day, Ethiopia

Kodak has maintained exposure to professional clients. Yesterday, the Facebook page for Kodak Motion Picture Film endorsed late summer movies shot on Kodak film. These include Lee Daniels’ The Butler and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The company has won 19 Scientific and Technical Academy Awards plus an Honorary Academy Award for innovations during the first century of film history.

The Butler Shot on Kodak Film