Eastman Kodak, the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera, filed for bankruptcy protection and planned to shrink significantly after a prolonged plunge for one of America’s best-known companies. The Chapter 11 filing may give Kodak the ability to find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents, a major portion of its value. According to papers filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak had about $5.1 billion of assets and $6.75 billion of liabilities at the end of September. Kodak now employs 17,000 people, down from 63,900 just nine years ago.
Over the four years that Kodak’s stock fell 80 percent, the photography icon’s private jet made its way several times a year to Vigo, Spain — the balmy fishing town that is the hometown of CEO Antonio Perez.
Nobody can question Eastman Kodak's intention in raising some $700 million. Getting a commitment from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to buy up to $400 million of its debt is also a perfectly logical step for the old-economy stalwart as it lumbers into the digital age. What KKR is thinking is another matter.