On the day Kodak filed for bankruptcy, CEO Antonio Perez led a town hall-style meeting with employees. Here are the highlights from the audio, which I posted on 13WHAM News:
– Kodak’s code name for its contingency plans that included bankruptcy was Project Cartier. A bankruptcy consultant left his watch on the corporate plane. “By the way, we won’t have planes anymore,” Perez said. There was a slow clap. “Go on and clap.” The room burst into applause.
– Less than 24 hours before Kodak filed for bankruptcy, Perez thought he had a deal to sell the patents and keep Kodak afloat. For 45 minutes, he thought the company would avert Chapter 11. It didn’t happen.
– Perez said Kodak held onto the film business because it’s a buyers market and it made more financial sense to hang onto it.
– Perez thought Kodak’s restructuring was over in 2007. “Baby, we’re going to the Olympics!” But then the recession hit.
– Perez knows he’s not too popular. “I have four dogs. They love me when I get home. They lick me up and down. They take care of all those problems. Of course, my wife and my daughter too. I know you are tweeting these things. That’s why I had to say that.”
– Perez blamed the media for the company’s inability to sell the patents and for reporting on nostalgia. He said reporters might “grow up” one day and realize it’s not 1890 anymore.
About those patents…
During the meeting, an executive revealed the price of the patents goes up in a bankruptcy:
If we kept on the same path we’ve been on for the next 5, 6, 7 years, just licensing to companies one by one, how much money would we generate? And that model shows $6 billion through licensing over next 4 years. It’s a very valuable asset.
What would this be in the hands of Google against Apple or in the hands of Apple against Android or in the hands of Sony against Apple or in the hands of Apple against HTC? These are all companies that are really warring with each other in the wireless space. That’s probably a bigger value. We can’t gauge it.
In this formal process…when parties are made to come oout of the dark shadows and come to the table…that competition will drive the price up as it did with the Nortel portfolio.