Today Kodak announced that its massive, $527 million sale of its digital imaging patents has been completed, calling the move a “key restructuring objective.” The patents were sold to a group of twelve parties, spreading out the cost of the purchase.
The deal was expected. In December, TNW reported that the sale was all but set, and detailed the price at $525 million. As we noted at the time, those picking up the patents include “Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC, Faceboook, Fujifilm and Microsoft and other technology giants including RIM, Adobe.”
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It’s a technology who’s-who, to be frank. That is to be expected, however, as only cash-rich companies could afford to take part in such a half-billion dollar transaction.
Kodak is transitioning out of the digital photo and video camera business, to focus on its printing technology. The company has stated that it is looking to “drive sustainable profitability through its most valuable business lines.” That in mind, it doesn’t need certain pieces of intellectual property.
And it has now successfully sold the lot. Its motives were completely financial, as its release notes, this money was desperately needed:
The completion of the sale enables Kodak to repay a substantial amount of its initial DIP loan, satisfy a key condition for its newly approved financing facility, and position its core Commercial Imaging business for future growth and success.
Having such a large consortium of parties purchase the rights and licensing ability to the intellectual property will perhaps have the effect of lowering potential litigation between the involved parties, as in this area that are working in concert. That said, the deal also ends current litigation between Kodak and the purchasing parties, which is key:
The transaction includes an agreement to settle current patent-related litigation between the participants and Kodak, which avoids additional litigation costs and helps to ensure that management and the company’s resources focus on enhancing core operations.
This sale of patents, roughly 1,100, leaves Kodak with around 9,600 still to its name.
And as you certainly recall, this is not the first time such a large grouping of tech heavyweights have tossed their dollars together for a big IP purchase. There was famous collaboration over the purchase of Nortel patents in a deal that involved 4,000 pieces of IP valued at more than $4 billion.
Top Image Credit: West McGowan