Eastman Kodak Co., the bankrupt photography pioneer, agreed to sell document-imaging assets to Japanese office-equipment company Brother Industries Ltd. for about $210 million, setting the minimum bid for an auction.
Any deal requires approval from the judge overseeing Rochester, New York-based Kodak’s bankruptcy case, the companies said in statements today. Nagoya, Japan-based Brother’s bid also assumes about $67 million of customer prepayment liabilities.
Kodak is selling businesses to shrink and fund its shift into commercial printing and packaging after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January 2012. Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez in December sold some of Kodak’s digital-imaging patents for about $525 million, and is also looking for buyers for its consumer-film and photo-kiosks divisions and shuttering its consumer inkjet-printer unit.
The deal would add Kodak scanners, image-capture software and technical services to Brother’s printers and fax machines. An auction with Brother as stalking horse, or initial bidder, will be run after sales procedures are approved later this month, Kodak said.
Kodak needs to make progress selling the business units to raise cash under a financing agreement that would enable it to exit bankruptcy in the first half of this year.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy after years of burning through cash as the rise of digital photography eroded its film business. The company cut about 4,000 jobs last year and spent $3.4 billion on restructuring before bankruptcy, including payouts to fire 47,000 employees since 2003.
The bankruptcy case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).