Kodak seeks Gallery buyer, says WSJ


posted Friday, November 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM EST

Kodak's logo. Click here to visit the Kodak website!Less than two weeks after announcing that it had divested itself of its image sensor division, Eastman Kodak Co. may again be looking to sell one of its businesses, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

With camera and film sales falling and the company working on shifting its consumer focus towards inkjet printing, Kodak recently reported a third-quarter loss of US$222 million, and adjusted its 2011 forecast to predict losses for the year of some US$400-600 million, from a previous prediction of US$200-400 million. Its cash balance as of the end of the third quarter was said to be in the region of US$862 million, down from some US$1.4 billion at the end of the same quarter last year, and only slightly more than the US$847 million it's said to have spent in the first half of 2011.

In its third-quarter sales and earning conference call, held on November 3, Kodak suggested that it was looking to sell around 1,100 patents, in an effort to raise cash levels to some US$1.3-1.4 billlion by year end. Today's Wall Street Journal article suggests that Kodak Gallery may also be sold to that end, with the company reportedly seeking a purchase price in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to an unnamed potential buyer.

The Kodak Gallery--initially known as Ofoto--was founded in mid-1999 by Lisa Gansky and Kamran Mohsenin. The Berkeley, CA-based company ran under its own steam for some two years, before being purchased by Kodak, and rebranded as the Kodak EasyShare Gallery several years later. Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner is quoted by the WSJ as stating that Kodak Gallery currently has around 75 million members, up from 1.2 million at the time of the Ofoto acquisition. Dana Mattioli, reporting for the WSJ, suggests that the service never reached profitability however, and that its traffic has tapered off significantly.

Kodak, for its part, declined comment on the possibility of a sale. More details can be found in the Wall Street Journal article.