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Kodak sells digital imaging patents for $525M

Kodak now sees home photo printers, commercial inkjet presses, software, and packaging as core businesses.

David Duprey/Associated Press/File 2006

Kodak now sees home photo printers, commercial inkjet presses, software, and packaging as core businesses.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak Co. is selling its digital imaging patents for about $525 million, money the struggling photo pioneer says will help it emerge from bankruptcy protection in the first half of next year.

Apple, Google, Samsung Electronics, Research In Motion, Microsoft, Huawei Technologies, Facebook, and are among the 12 companies paying to license the 1,100 patents, according to court documents. Kodak, which has been trying to make the sale happen for more than a year, will get substantially less money than had been expected.

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Kodak said the patent sale will help it repay a substantial amount of a loan it got under the bankruptcy process. It ­also satisfies a key condition of a new, cheaper $830 million loan package, which required that the patents be sold for at least $500 million.

Kodak, founded in 1880, sought Chapter 11 protection in January after a long struggle to stay relevant. First came competition from Japanese companies, then the shift from film to digital photography. Kodak failed to keep up. Its workforce peaked at 145,300 in 1988; it expects to wind up with 13,100 employees. Kodak has sold several businesses and will stop making digital cameras.

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