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Apple, Google, RIMM: Kodak's Patent Buyers?

Kodak has been putting more of an emphasis on its printer business lately, picking up market share from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Canon (CAJ) along the way, attracting consumers with more printing features and less-expensive ink. Even with a patent sale, Kodak intends to hold onto the licensing rights to its proprietary technology.

CEO Perez is looking for buyers willing to pay cash for the patents, but only wants to sell "the part of the portfolio that does not apply to the core investments and the future of the company."

The marketing of patents is a smart move for Kodak -- a company that has struggled after years of annual losses -- particularly in light of M&A news last month that Google acquired Motorola Mobility Holdings (MMI) at a hefty premium, largely for the accumulation of 17,000 technology patents the target holds, as the search giant moved to better compete with Apple's iPhone.

Despite Kodak's $1.2 billion pension shortfall, potential acquirers like Microsoft (MSFT) and Samsung Electronics could benefit greatly from its patents -- technologies used in a bulky 85% of all digital cameras and smartphones -- Rafferty Capital Markets told Bloomberg last month. Investment bank Lazard began marketing Kodak's roster of patents in August, and interested parties included a large wireless provider, according to reports in the Journal.

Kodak shares fell 0.7% to $1.38 at midday Monday. The stock remains down around 74% year to date.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.


>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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