BREAKING NEWS: Kodak to sell off film, imaging and retail print businesses (UPDATED)


posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM EDT


Eastman Kodak announced today that it plans to sell off its film, imaging and retail print businesses as part of its plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Instead of imaging, the Rochester, NY-based company will focus on commercial printing and business services. Though details were still sketchy Thursday evening, the move by Kodak would signal a historic end to the company's long legacy in photography and consumer print making.

The company was founded in 1880 and made its mark on the consumer photography world with the Brownie camera in 1900, which sold for $1 and used film that cost only 15 cents per roll.

The businesses Kodak plans to sell include its "personalized imaging business which includes most consumer products and retail printing kiosks, and its document imaging business, which makes scanners for enterprise customers," according to Reuters.

More specifically for photographers, the sell-off would appear to include Kodak's photography film business, its photo papers, and its digital cameras division.

UDATE: We initially reported that Kodak had planned to sell its consumer inkjet printer division. That does not appear to be the case. According to a press release posted on the Kodak website, the company "continues to own and operate the Consumer Inkjet, Entertainment Imaging, Commercial Film and Specialty Chemicals businesses."

Kodak's "Commercial Film" business includes aerial film, printed circuit boards, and surveillance type uses of film. Kodak also plans to retain its entertainment imaging business, which includes its motion picture business.

To exit bankruptcy, Kodak needs to raise $700 million to pay creditors. The company had hoped to generate income by selling its patents but that has been unsuccessful, so far.

“We are reshaping Kodak. We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing – in which we have the broadest portfolio solutions – and enterprise services, " said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a press release from Kodak.

“Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging are valuable businesses that enjoy leading market positions as a result of superior products and service offerings. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our customers, and we will work to ensure that they continue to receive the exceptional levels of quality and service they have come to expect from Kodak.

To read the full Kodak press release, click here.

(This is a breaking news story and we will update it when we learn more.)

Below is a classic Kodak commercial from the 1970s, starring Mark Hamill (of Star Wars) and Eve Plumb (of the Brady Bunch) when the company was still king of the Instamatics.