Top Ten of 2012: Kodak (1)
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
That Kodak was in trouble was no secret as it filed for Chapter 11 in January, but the scale of the problem was greater than anyone expected.
The consumer businesses were in freefall, costs were mounting, creditors were queueing up with claims exceeding $20.5bn. The landscape changed constantly. One day it identified businesses such as retail as core divisions, the next they were up for sale.
Unsurprisingly eyebrows were raised when it wanted to pay out more than $17m in bonuses to its top execs whose optimism often appeared to be suffering some disjunct with reality, not least when they suggested the much delayed auction of its patent portfolio could still create a bidding war bringing in as much as $2.6bn.
The reality was that when every company with an interest in technology had chipped in for a group bid, Kodak raised just a fifth of that value, just enough to secure a new credit facility of $800m.
The fact that we were witnessing the death throes of an iconic brand, that had invented its own demise in the digital camera, was so compellingly voyeuristic you were left wanting to know when the movie is out.
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