Here’s an interesting piece of photo trivia for today: did you know that Apple’s similarities with Kodak don’t end with Steve Jobs modeling his career and his company after Polaroid? The ongoing dispute between Apple and Samsung is strikingly similar to the battle Polaroid had with Kodak many decades ago.
Kodak may be planning to sell its film division, but for the time being the business is still under the company’s control. The company announced yesterday that T-MAX P3200 is the latest in its lineup to be discontinued, citing the plummeting demand for ultra-high speed black-and-white film.
Kodak divisions are falling left and right as the company struggles to claw its way out of bankruptcy protection. After killing off its camera business and selling off its film business earlier this year, Kodak announced today that it will shortly be pulling out of the consumer printing business in order to focus on commercial printing.
Bankruptcy has not been friendly to Kodak. The once-important camera company — now a printing company — is worth less than 20 cents a share today, a completely different picture than its glory days in the mid-1990s, when the price briefly surged beyond $90. Now that the share price is so low, would it be wise to invest in the company in hopes that it emerges from bankruptcy protection? Matt Krantz over at USA Today says no, and writes,
Some investors figure that companies that were as large and powerful as Eastman Kodak can’t just vanish. And because of that, they think that when they see the shares trading for just 22 cents that they can’t miss. But investors who assume this are missing a few key points that wind up resulting in huge losses and disappointment.
When companies undergo bankruptcy restructuring, common stockholders are last in line for what’s left of the remaining company. It’s pretty common for the common shares to be delisted from a stock exchange and ultimately be moved to a lightly regulated marketplace. That’s what’s happened with Kodak shares. Some shareholders find getting out of these positions can be costly or troublesome.
He says that while it’s possible that Kodak will succeed in its plans of emerging from bankruptcy next year, it’s unlikely that anyone still holding on to shares in the company will see their wallets getting fatter.
Ask Matt: Are Eastman Kodak shares a bankrupt bargain? [USA Today]
Image credit: Illustration based on Kodak Building in Rochester, NY by Viktor Nagornyy
Check out this photo showing the inside of a camera shop (and pharmacy) from 1910. It’s the image on a postcard that’s currently being auctioned over on eBay (with a starting bid of $100) by a seller named 2raccoons. Here’s the description:
Up for auction is this extraordinary photograph of a woman in standard Gibson dress standing at a store counter purchasing a Kodak folding camera. The store employee is wearing a jacket and bow-tie which adds charm to the photograph. It is uncertain if the woman is actually buying the Kodak camera, or if the scene here is “staged,” but $25 is about what one would have paid for the Kodak folding camera at that time, which can be seen on the cash register.
$25 for a top-of-the-line camera. Not bad. Add a couple zeros to that price and you’ll get what many DSLRs are selling for these days.
Kodak has announced that it’ll be shedding even more jobs in an effort to cut costs as it transitions into being a company solely focused on commercial printing and corporate services. Two weeks after announcing the sale of its photographic film business, the company is stating that another 1,000 pink slips will be issued by the end of this year as part of a $330 million cost cutting plan. This is on top of the 2,700 layoff notices already handed out this year, and the new round of cuts will reduce the company’s headcount to 13,400, down from the 145,000 employees it had during its glory days.
It’s a sad day for film photographers: Kodak has announced that it will sell off its camera film business, one of the huge pillars of what made Kodak Kodak in the eyes of consumers around the world. It’s yet another step in the company’s effort to climb out of bankruptcy, which it hopes to do by next year, and transform itself into a commercial printing company.
Good news for film photography lovers: Kodak film may be okay for at least a few more years. The company has signed new contracts with four major Hollywood movie studios that will allow it to provide film for movies at least through 2015.
The deadline to put up initial bids for Kodak’s 1,100 patent sale is Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reports that the two biggest contenders, Apple and Google, are forming “coalitions” with other companies in preparation for the all out patent brawl. The last time this happened, an Apple/Microsoft alliance ended up winning the battle against Google, that time over a patent sale by Nortel Networks. Read more…
Kodak’s ongoing request to dole out millions of dollars in bonuses to executives in the midst of its bankruptcy struggles has been met with plenty of criticism, but perhaps none more so than from former employees who are anxiously waiting to see whether their pensions and benefits will be affected. The Wall Street Journal writes,
In letters filed to Kodak’s bankruptcy docket Wednesday, Richard Pignataro and Cecil D. Quillen Jr. said it’s not fair for Kodak to reward executives while they and other former Kodak workers face the risk that the company could seek to trim or modify their benefits.
“To reward people with money that should go to us and for reducing our potential payout is grossly unfair and I ask that you reconsider this bonus plan and most importantly assist us to retain what we worked so hard to earn,” Pignataro wrote in a letter dated July 16.
Kodak’s plan proposes to set aside $8.8 million in cash and deferred stock for 15 “key management employees,” including nine executives, deemed “essential” to Kodak’s ability to successfully restructure.
Ex-Kodak Employees Blast Bonus Plan [WSJ]
Image credit: money cash hoes by RiverRatt3