Talk about a Kodak acquisition seems to be heating up as giant tech companies — including Google, Microsoft, and Apple — continue to engage in a patent-hoarding war. Just two days ago, Google agreed to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion in order to snatch up the roughly 25,000 patents owned by the handset maker. Bloomberg writes that the patents held by Kodak may be worth five times more than the company itself, making it a prime acquisition target:
If Kodak’s patents can command $3 billion, acquiring the company would outweigh the liabilities [...] An acquirer would also be able to sell Kodak’s commercial and consumer printing businesses and the digital camera unit for at least $2.5 billion, he said.
Buyers may include Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, Samsung, the Suwon, South Korea-based maker of Galaxy phones and tablet computers, and Google, according to Luskin.
That’s crazy — can you imagine Google or Microsoft buying Kodak to strip it of its patents and then selling off the corpse to some other camera maker? No wonder Kodak adopted a ‘poison pill’.
Kodak Worth Five Times More in Breakup With $3 Billion Patents [Bloomberg]
Image credit: Kodak by t-miki
Japanese electronics giant Pioneer is dipping its toes in the digital camera industry. It has partnered with camera maker Asia Optical to make Pioneer branded cameras in Brazil to sell in the Chinese market. The company aims to have sales of half a million units by 2015. Up to this point, the company had focused on things like car audio systems, television, and DVD players. It’ll be interesting to see if Pioneer can find a foothold and steal some market share from the big players.
(via DC Watch via 1001 Noisy Cameras)
We reported yesterday that Kodak has taken defensive measures to prevent a hostile takeover for its extensive collection of digital imaging patents. One of these patents is an image previewing invention that has earned Kodak nearly $1 billion from Samsung and LG, and that’s at the center of an ongoing legal battle with Apple. With the income generated by patent lawsuits dwindling, the company is now considering the sale of 1,100 patents (about 10% of its portfolio), including the valuable image previewing patent. A sale might bring in significantly more cash than the market value of the company, which currently sits at about $600 million.
Image credit: FOR SALE BY OWNER (if you can find it) by The-Tim
If you look at the price of Kodak’s stock, you’ll see that the company is currently worth about $600 million — a figure that may be significantly lower than what its digital imaging patents could sell for. With the risk looming that a buyer might try to acquire the patents by simply taking over the company, Kodak is taking evasive maneuvers:
The Rochester photo and imaging company said Monday that its board had created a special class of stock to serve as a firewall in case someone tries to take a majority interest in the company.
Under the terms of the deal, if any investor tries to buy 5 percent or more of the company over the next three years, Kodak would issue all current stockholders shares of preferred stock. As a result, any takeover attempt would require the purchase of additional shares that could make the cost prohibitive.
In the business world, this tactic is known as a “poison pill“.
Kodak makes defensive move (via 1001 Noisy Cameras)
Image credit: Pill tablet by doug88888
Here’s another nail in the fail coffin for the much-hyped but not-very-popular photo-sharing app Color: TechCrunch reports that Color received a staggering $200 million acquisition offer before it had even launched, but the company turned it down and raised $41 million in venture funding instead. Things haven’t been going so hot for Color since then, while Google saved itself $200 million and has a couple photo-sharing apps in development that are generating some buzz.
Image credit: Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117 by stevendepolo
Fans of the Fujifilm X100 who are hoping the company will release an interchangeable lens successor to the camera may soon get their wish. Camera division chief Takeshi Higuchi strongly hinted at their plans for an interchangeable lens camera in an interview with Reuters:
The launch of a mirrorless camera, which has an electronic viewfinder, making it lighter and more compact than a professional-style single-lens reflex camera, would be an extension of Fujifilm’s effort to move upmarket and would put it in direct competition with Sony.
The X100 uses an APS-C-sized sensor found in many DSLR cameras. The company is currently in fifth place in digital camera sales behind Canon, Sony, Nikon and Samsung, but Higuchi says the company plans on passing Samsung by next year and Nikon within three years. Given how in-demand the X100 has been, we’d say Fujifilm is off to a good start.
Fujifilm aims to be world No. 3 in cameras [Reuters]
Image credit: Racing demons by shaggy359
Facebook can’t be too pleased with Google right now. In addition to releasing a Facebook competitor called Google+, the company has also beaten Facebook to the mobile photo sharing space with a new app called Pool Party. Like Google+, the app is currently invite-only, but if you can score an invite it’s a free download for both iOS and Android. The app is based around collaborative group albums called “pools” that allow you to share pictures with friends and family in real-time.
Ricoh is purchasing the Pentax camera business from optical glass-maker Hoya for roughly 10 billion yen (~$124.2 million) in order to jump into the DSLR game. Hoya had purchased Pentax back in 2007 mainly for its medical technologies and was widely expected to sell off the camera division of the company. Ricoh already makes a number of quality compact cameras, but the market is slowly being eaten up by large-sensor interchangeable lens cameras and mobiles phones. The company is planning to continue using the Pentax brand name on its newly acquired camera lines.
(via Reuters via 1001 Noisy Cameras via Engadget)
After sticking too long to film technology, it looks like Leica is finally getting the digital game figured out. Yesterday it announced a record profit of €248.9 million for the latest fiscal year, a significant increase from the €158.2 million it earned the previous year.
The positive development is mainly due to the continuing strong demand for the Leica M system, the professional S system, the compact cameras and the Leica sport optics products.
They will also be paying dividends to shareholders — the first time the company has done so since 1997!
(via Foto Actualidad via Leica Rumors)
Image credit: Leica M9: Logo by bfishadow
The AP published an article yesterday titled “How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On?” that gives a pretty grim outlook for the future of film. About a decade ago, Americans were purchasing close to 1 billion rolls of film and 19.7 million film cameras every year. This year, only about 20 million rolls will be sold and film camera sales may fall below 100,000.
For InfoTrends imaging analyst Ed Lee, film’s fade-out is moving sharply into focus: “If I extrapolate the trend for film sales and retirements of film cameras, it looks like film will be mostly gone in the U.S. by the end of the decade.”
As high schools and colleges find the rising costs of analog photography prohibitive, they’re transitioning to a completely digital curriculum and shutting down their darkrooms, further reducing the demand for film. Film lovers, enjoy it while it lasts!
How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On? [NPR]
Image credit: Death of Film by blue_quartz