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Kodak, Creditors to Extend Deadline for Patent Auction

Eastman Kodak Co., the bankrupt photography pioneer, said its digital-imaging patents auction will proceed beyond yesterday’s deadline, without providing a revised target date.

“Kodak and its creditors have agreed to extend the timeline for announcing the outcome of the patent auction in light of continuing discussions with bidders,” Rochester, New York-based Kodak said yesterday in a statement. “The auction, which is a complex and dynamic process, is ongoing. Like all participants, Kodak is still bound by the court order on confidentiality, and cannot comment further at this time.”

The two patent portfolios for sale relate to the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images. Kodak is selling the patents to fund a turnaround after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January, pursuing a plan to shrink the company and focus on printing rather than photography. Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez is pushing ahead with the sale amid legal fights with device makers, including Apple Inc., over the ownership and validity of some of the patents.

In court documents, Rochester, New York-based Kodak has said the patents may be worth $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion, based on an estimate by patent advisory firm 284 Partners LLC. Kodak said it has generated more than $3 billion in revenue by licensing some of the digital-imaging patents to users, including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc., Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit and Nokia Oyj.

Bidding Process

Kodak said in June that 20 parties had signed agreements to view confidential information ahead of potential bids. The identities of unsuccessful bidders will be kept secret under auction rules.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy after years of burning through cash when digital photography eroded its film business. The company had spent $3.4 billion on restructuring before bankruptcy, including payouts to shed 47,000 employees since 2003, closing 13 factories that produced film, paper and chemicals, and 130 photo laboratories.

The bankruptcy case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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