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Kodak in Focus: Patents to Pay Off?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. ( TheStreet) -- Eastman Kodak's (EK) shares eased back Tuesday morning after spiking late Monday as the film company has been marketing its trove of patents, a sale of which could prove quite lucrative.

Reports surfaced last month that Kodak was working to sell off its patents. Kodak has struggled to gain momentum in its digital camera business as its printing business flailed, but its digital-imaging patents could be worth far more than the 131-year-old camera company itself, fetching as much as $3 billion, according to some analysts.

CEO Antonio Perez said in late August that Kodak was in talks with potential buyers, and had signed confidentiality agreements with possible bidders for at least 1,000 Kodak patents.


"This has helped investors feel more comfortable with the name in that they know at least one of the two avenues the company is seeking for cash may pay out," Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Jody Lurie told Bloomberg. "Investors have been scared about the company's cash levels, and as a result, any sort of good news that comes out about the company has improved investors' fears."

Kodak shares spiked in late-day trading Monday, but were 4.9% lower at $2.90 early Tuesday morning.

If Kodak is able to sell its patents, and get as much as $3 billion for them, it would buy the company time to give its inkjet printer business a much-needed boost, according to Gimme Credit analyst David Novosel.

Kodak has been putting more of an emphasis on its printer business lately, picking up market share from Hewlett-Packard (HP - Get Report) and Canon (CAJ - Get Report) along the way, attracting consumers with more printing features and less-expensive ink.

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