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Kodak: From A Near Monopoly on Nostalgia to Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals

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Kodak’s modern business strategy is as weird to read as it is to write about. The company has jumped from one strategy to the next in an attempt to stay afloat. This 15-minute video delves into how Kodak went from near film monopoly, to near financial ruin, to pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Kodak’s recent history in business is almost surreal to recount. As shown in the video above by Bloomberg, it transitioned from film production to bankruptcy to attempting its own cryptocurrency to its most recent business endeavor: pharmaceutical production thanks to a $765 million grant from the United States government.

If you look at a five-year graph of Kodak’s stock price, consistent downward trends are offset by two major jumps: one in 2018 when the company announced Kodak Coin and one in 2020 when they announce a shift to pharmaceuticals.

When Kodak unveiled its cryptocurrency, it’s stock price jumped similarly. At the time, crypto was big in the news but there was no public company to attach the hype to. When Kodak announced KodakCoin, investors lept at the possibility of using traditional investing techniques to benefit from the crypto craze.

Clearly, that did not stick, as Kodak returned to the financial doldrums quickly thereafter.

Even that latest strategy is not without drama, as Kodak’s CEO has been accused of insider trading involving the surge in stock price associated with the announcement of the pharmaceutical pivot.

Kodak’s stock has again fallen considerably since then, and the SEC investigation is ongoing. So while the name of the Bloomberg video is “The Rise and Fall… and Rise of Kodak,” Kodak has yet to really make that second rise a reality.

Still, the video above does an excellent job retelling how Kodak started, how it reached its most prominent success, and how it has ended up where it is today with considerable time taken exploring the attempts at major business shifts the company has attempted in the last five years. It is one of two recent videos about the company that is worth your time checking out. The other is this excellent video from The Wall Street Journal that documents the rise and fall of Kodak.

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