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Report: Apple, Google Offer $500M for Kodak Patents

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Apple and Google are usually fierce competitors, but reports suggest the two companies may be working together. Unnamed sources say the two firms have offered a joint bid worth $500 million for Kodak’s imaging patents.

Bloomberg’s Serena Saitto, Beth Jinks and Brian Womack broke the story, writing, “Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. have joined forces to offer more than $500 million to buy Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ)’s patents out of bankruptcy, said people familiar with the situation. The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate groups this summer to buy some of Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.”

According to Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng, “The entire group goes beyond just Apple and Google—it reportedly includes other companies like Microsoft, Intellectual Ventures (the mysterious parent-seeming company of Lodsys, the firm suing independent app developers), another patent holding firm named RPX Corp., and ‘Asian makers of Google’s Android phones,’ according to the sources.”

Aabha Rathee with the International Business Times noted, “Kodak had initially estimated the value of its for-sale portfolio between $2.2 and $2.6 billion after arguing that it had generated more than $3 billion in revenue by licensing some of the patents to users, including Samsung, LG, Google unit Motorola, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK). However, some contend that because it has already been widely licensed, the portfolio is worth much less. The first bids received by the company were said to range only between $150 million and $250 million. Kodak’s bankruptcy loan conditions, though, need the winning offer to be higher than $500 million.”

ZDNet’s Sam Shead added, “Kodak announced it was in financial difficulties in 2011 and started selling off its assets in a bid to raise capital. In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing total assets of $5.1bn (£3.18bn) but a debt of $6.8bn (£4.24bn) in its bankruptcy filing. The company then took out a $950m (£591m) loan with Citigroup so that it could keep its operations going and took other measures such as selling off its personalized and digital imaging businesses, in a bid to claw its way out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings sometime in 2013.”

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