The camera maker are looking to get rich very snappy by cashing in on the 1,100-strong patents cache it holds. And after several billion dollar deals of late and patent battles getting even uglier, who can blame them.
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Kodak has plenty of imaging patents who the likes of Apple, Google or even Microsoft would find useful. This marks 10% of its total and any deal could be worth as much as US$1 billion.
But since all three have recently coughed up considerable sums for acquisitions (Google agreed to fork out $12.5bn for Motorola last week and Microsoft forked out $8bn for Skype), perhaps cash rich Apple would be best placed.
According to the WSJ a “large, strategic buyer in the wireless industry” may snap up the patents for “defensive protection,” although the source failed to specify any further.”
However, Cupertino are said to be preoccupied with the possible $3 billion takeover of InterDigital, who also has a potent set of patent rights the iPhone maker could play with. It recently teamed up with Microsoft and several others to buy out Nortel Network patents.
Over half of the current 3G market is under license with InterDigital, giving any potential owner an irrestiable edge over rival smartphone makers.
According to reports, Kodak has already hired Lazard Bankers to scout for potential buyers to offload its valuable intellectual property on, as it loses market share to smartphones and tablets with cameras- inbuilt.
The US photography giant also recently announced a worrying set of financials – including US$179 million losses and revenue $1.49 billion – down 5% compared to a year ago.
Kodak is also engaged in several patent battles with Apple and BlackBerry maker RIM (ITC decision due August 30), as it looks to defend its imaging technology and is increasingly relying on patent compensation to fund its business.