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Financial Expert Explains Kodak's Patent Auction Delay

Wednesday was supposed to be the day Kodak would announce the outcome of its auction of over a thousand technical patents to bidders in the imaging and communications fields. But as of now, there has been no announcement, and possibly no sale.

This is the latest bump in the road toward Kodak's planned recovery from bankruptcy. The company had hoped to raise over $2 billion from the sale, but initial bids reportedly came in at a fraction of that amount.

Late last week, the company filed notice with Federal Bankruptcy Court that the sale might not be concluded this week, or at all. Brighton Securities President George Conboy, a long-time imaging industry observer, says the lack of further action says one thing--the sale may have failed.

"Pure corporate speak for 'we blow it',” Conboy says. “There's not going to be a patent sale and when it got delayed a month ago, it became increasingly obvious no buyers were willing to step up with that fat check for $2 million that unfortunately Kodak had been expecting and indeed needing to help further the bankruptcy proceedings."

Conboy says it's an open question whether holding out for more money through a delay of the sale will yield any better results for Kodak. He even predicts some bidders may decide instead to develop their own technology and hire lawyers to defend themselves against any potential Kodak patent suit--because it could prove a cheaper route to go.

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