Ritz Camera went under the hammer yesterday at a public auction, the latest chapter in the company’s efforts to figure out a profitable business model in the increasingly Internet-driven business of selling camera gear. Among the things on the auction block yesterday was Wolf Camera, the competing chain of photo retail stores that Ritz acquired back in 2001. If you’re a fan of Wolf Camera shops, here’s some bad news: their days may be very numbered.
A source just informed us that all Wolf Camera shops are slated to be liquidated. He heard from a Wolf store manager friend that the chain was purchased by a liquidation company at the auction, and that exact time frames will be announced soon.
Kodak is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to pay $13.5 million in bonuses to roughly 300 executives and employees in order to convince them to stay with the company as it struggles to reinvent itself. Though the beleaguered company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, it believes that the money would help to retain employees that have knowledge and skills that would be difficult to replace if they were to leave. The current headcount at the company stands at around 7,600.
Here’s your mind-boggling fact of the day: the $1 billion Facebook is shelling out to acquire Instagram is enough to purchase Kodak more than 12 times over!
Image credit: Kodak Building in Rochester, NY by Viktor Nagornyy
It wasn’t too long ago that Kodak filed multiple patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in a scramble for life-giving cash, but now the tables have turned. Less than a month after Kodak filed for bankruptcy and announced the end of its camera business, Apple is reportedly in the process of asking the court for permission to sue bankrupt Kodak for infringing on Apple’s patents in its printers, digital cameras, and digital picture frames. This back and forth IP fight is one that Kodak might not be in for long: the company is still trying to sell off its portfolio of roughly 1,100 imaging patents.
(via Bloomberg via Ars Technica)
Image credit: Knockout by What What
Kodak Theatre, the famous theater on Hollywood Boulevard that hosts the Academy Awards, may soon have a different name. As part of its recent bankruptcy filing, Kodak is now trying to get out of the 20-year, $75-million-dollar naming rights contract it signed back in 2000. The theatre’s about page states,
The naming of Kodak Theatre, in a 20-year marketing partnership with Eastman Kodak Co., was one of the most significant non-sports corporate sponsorships in history. Kodak’s prominence and long-standing connection to the film industry in Hollywood made the relationship a natural. In fact, for the 78th consecutive year, ever since the inception of the Academy Awards, Best Picture was produced on Kodak film.
The next annual payment owed by Kodak is reportedly $4 million.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)
Image credit: Kodak Theatre by mkoukoullis
Well, the rumors were true: today the iconic photography company Kodak announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What this means is that the company is given permission to continue its normal operations as it struggles to restructure and transform into a sustainable business. While we probably won’t see the death of the Kodak brand, the company has stated that it intends to transform into “a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company”, and that they’re planning to sell off “significant assets” during this process. It remains to be seen whether Kodak continues to play a significant role in film photography once it emerges out the other end of bankruptcy protection (if it ever does).
Thanks for sending in the tip, Ian!
Image credit: kodak by zrs_one
CNNMoney has an interesting article on how the Kodak brand will likely survive even if the company itself declares bankruptcy:
Many potential buyers are also weighing the value of Kodak’s brand-name since there’s been a lot of talk that it may consider filing for bankruptcy. For now the company plans to restructure out of court.
Kodak’s brand name (not its patents) could easily generate more than double Polaroid’s sales price, said Jamie Salter, the CEO of Authentic Brands. “There are a lot of categories that Kodak could attach its name to. People would feel very comfortable using Kodak paper,” said Salter.
Like Polaroid, Kodak has brand cache all over the world offering potential buyers the opportunity to tap global markets.
The Polaroid brand name sold for $88 million in 2009 after Polaroid the company declared bankruptcy in 2008.
Why bankruptcy isn’t a brand killer [CNNMoney]
Image credit: Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 by Rubin 110
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Kodak may be “a shutter click from extinction”:
Once ranked among the bluest of blue chips, Kodak shares sell today at close to $1. Kodak’s chairman has been denying that the company is contemplating a bankruptcy filing with such vehemence that many believe Chapter 11 must lurk just around the corner.
The Rochester, N.Y., company said it had $862 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, but at the rate it’s losing money from operations (more than $70 million a month), that hoard would barely last a year.
No wonder the company is trying to find someone to purchase its online photo sharing service for hundreds of millions. Even if it did manage to find a buyer, the sale would only buy a few more months of life unless the company can figure out how to stop the bleeding.
Kodak’s long fade to black [Los Angeles Times]
Image credit: Money Going Up in Smoke by Images_of_Money