Poltorak told TheStreet he believes Kodak has a "very valuable portfolio" of patents which "will fetch a respectable price." He said that good patents are typically sold for between $200,000 and $250,000 each, though the price per patent is often lower when large portfolios are bought and sold. Kodak 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.
By Poltorak's estimate, the portfolio could be worth around $250 million, far less than the $3 billion some analysts have forecast, though "the important question is how much are these patents exhausted, for example, how much of the market has been already licensed and what is left. This requires a careful analysis of all existing license agreements Kodak is a party to." As for who might be working on a bid for Kodak's patents, Poltorak said Apple and Research In Motion, both of which are current defendants in Kodak lawsuits, are possible buyers. Google or HTC could also be in the game as operating companies "in need of bolstering their defensive patent portfolios."
The company issued a statement after the closing bell that day denying any intention of filing for bankruptcy. Commenting on its hiring of Jones Day, Kodak said it is "committed to meeting all of its obligations" and "also continues to actively pursue its previously announced strategy to monetize its digital imaging patent portfolio. Kodak remains focused on meeting its commitments to customers and suppliers, and on delivering on its strategy to become a profitable, sustainable digital company." "It is not unusual for a company in transformation to explore all options and to engage a variety of outside advisers, including financial and legal advisers," Kodak added. Jones Day is an adviser on bankruptcy, but also on other paths companies may take to boost their financial positions, including raising new debt or equity, or negotiating swaps of debt forgiveness for ownership stakes. Kodak confirmed it had hired Jones Day, but said it "is one of a number of advisers that Kodak is working with." Last week Kodak said it made a $14 million payment to its bondholders, according to spokesman Chris Veronda. That followed word days earlier that Fitch Ratings had cut its rating on Kodak to CC from CCC which it said "signifies that default of some kind appears probable." In late September , Kodak drew $160 million against its credit line saying it was borrowing the funds "for general corporate purposes," according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. With an interest rate of 1.5%, Kodak has until 2016 to repay the loan. The drawdown followed Kodak's move in April when it entered into an agreement for a new credit facility of up to $400 million. Kodak's Future 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 analyt David Novosel.
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