There may well be a new wrinkle in Kodak’s quest to sell off it’s digital patent portfolio. The Wall Street Journal reports huge bidders like Apple, Google, Samsung and others are teaming up in a quest to jointly purchase and share the patents.
“With only one bidder there’s no one to bid against, there’s no bidding war,” says Analyst George Conboy. “Without a bidding war there’s no bonanza.”
Anyone who’s attended an auction knows what a seller hopes for is interest from more than one party that might start a bidding war.
Apple and Google are highly competitive adversaries- as such the companies have spent a lot of energy and money in courtroom disputes over patents and technology used in cell phones.
The WSJ reports the two have put that aside, and may also be working together with other companies including Samsung and LG as a consortium to purchase Kodak patents for over $500 million dollars.
That is more than the reported opening bids of $250,000,000 but significantly less than what Kodak needs to move beyond bankruptcy and have capitol to move forward.
“It appears that it’s perfectible that Google, Apple and their pals should get together and make a bid,” says Conboy of Brighton Securities. “The disappointing thing for Kodak is when you don’t have them bidding against each other you don’t get the bid price up.”
Kodak has valued the patents at $2 billion dollars. Last week the company suspended the auction and said it may not sell the patents at all.
An agreement like this is unusual and would likely raise anti-trust issues for the justice department. The Wall Street Journal reports the talks are on-going and may not come to fruition.
The bankruptcy court was set to approve any patent sale in a hearing Monday. However with no agreement to preside over, the hearing date has been moved to August 30.