Eastman Kodak Co. (EK) may hold patents worth five times more than the business itself, making the 131-year-old camera company a target in the billion-dollar hunt for inventions used in mobile phones.
Kodak, which once had a market value of more than $30 billion, slid 98 percent from its 1990s peak through yesterday as demand for film photography withered and smartphones equipped to take pictures siphoned off demand for its digital cameras. The Rochester, New York-based company has reported losses in five of the past six years and has less than $600 million in equity value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The digital-imaging patents owned by Kodak may now be worth $3 billion in a sale, MDB Capital Group said, after Google Inc. (GOOG)paid a dot-com era premium to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and obtain its more than 17,000 patents to combat Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone. While Kodak has a $1.2 billion pension shortfall, potential buyers such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Samsung Electronics Co. stand to profit from its technologies that are used in 85 percent of digital cameras and smartphones, according to Rafferty Capital Markets LLC.