August 14, 2012 / 12:50 AM / 7 years ago

Kodak extends patent auction deadline as talks continue

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eastman Kodak extended its patent auction on Monday, saying it would not announce a winner as planned because it was still in discussions with bidders.

Kodak World Headquarters is pictured in Rochester, New York January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Fenster

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in January, said in a statement that the auction was ongoing. It declined to comment further, citing confidentiality agreements.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the length of the extension. The company said it expected later on Monday to submit regulatory filings revealing more information about its business, including financial projections.

Kodak, which has lost more than $600 million so far this year, began an auction of 1,100 digital patents last Wednesday. It had been scheduled to designate a winner on Monday ahead of a Manhattan Federal Bankruptcy court hearing on August 20.

The company, a photography pioneer that has been unable to adapt to the shift to digital imaging, would use the money from the sale to pay back investors. It has borrowed nearly $700 million in bankruptcy financing.

It is unclear how much the patent sale will raise. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Apple Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp made bids, but they were significantly below Kodak’s estimates for the patents’ value. Kodak said early in 2012 that an outside firm had estimated the value of the portfolio at $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion.

Kodak’s digital patents were grouped into two lots - one of 700 patents and another of 400. They have been for sale for more than a year, but the sale was complicated by the bankruptcy and lawsuits over the ownership and authenticity of the patents. It is in the midst of litigation with several companies, including Apple, Samsung and Research in Motion Ltd.

Kodak has said it wants to be out of bankruptcy by early 2013. To stick to that timeline, it will need to present a bankruptcy reorganization plan towards the end of this year.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Kodak said it would continue with plans outlined in January to grow its consumer inkjet and digital printing sectors.

The filing said Kodak would also push to increase its presence in the industrial packaging industry worldwide.

The company outlook said Kodak expects to bring down operating expenses through 2014 by 40 percent, while revenues will decline only about 20 percent over the same period.

The case is in Re: Eastman Kodak Co. et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.

Reporting by Caroline Humer; Additional reporting by Nick Brown and Basil Katz; Editing by Andre Grenon, Dan Grebler and Richard Pullin

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