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Apple, Google Reportedly Teaming Up To Bid On Kodak Patents

August 18, 2012

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Eastman Kodak‘s attempts to emerge from bankruptcy by auctioning off patents are facing a potential roadblock as rival technology firms are reportedly pooling their resources in an attempt to acquire the portfolio, various media outlets reported on Friday.

As previously reported by redOrbit.com’s own Lawrence LeBlond, the auction, which kicked off earlier this month, is for more than 1,000 digital patents worth up to an estimated $2.6 billion.

Opening bids fell well below that valuation, with Apple and Google offering an estimated $150 million to $250 million, though there was some speculation that the two rivals could drive those bids up quickly.

Now, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and CBS News, comes word that the Apple and Google could be joining forces in order to drive down the prices of the patents.

Furthermore, VentureBeat‘s Ricardo Bilton added that Samsung, Intellectual Ventures, and RPX Corp could also be part of the group.

“That all these companies would join forces is no big surprise, but it´s probably bad news for Kodak. While the camera company values its patent portfolio at upward of $2 billion, it´s clear that the bidders aim to undercut that asking price by working together rather than against each other,” Bilton said.

“Likewise, by bidding together, each company would own a piece of the patent pie, preventing them from suing each other over patent infringement down the line. With patent litigation popping up seemingly every day, this is a highly desirable outcome for everyone involved,” he added.

Perhaps in response to the rumored alliance, Kodak released a statement Thursday suggesting that they may decide not to sell off their patent portfolio after all.

“[Kodak] has not reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio, and may retain all or parts of it as a source of creditor recoveries in lieu of a sale if it concludes that doing so is in the best interests of the estate,” they said, according to John Paczkowski of All Things D.

Paczkowski added that the auction, which originally was scheduled to end on August 13, had reportedly only brought in a top bid of approximately $500 million as of Friday afternoon. Despite the disappointing results, Kodak told him that they would continue to have “active discussions” with potential purchasers, though the All Things D reporter suggests that the company might have missed its opportunity to get those would-be buyers involved in a bidding war.


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online



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