Kodak is currently working on filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as February.
The Wall Street Journal originally reported that the 131 year- old company has been struggling since the 1980s, when foreign competitors began taking over its market share in film and then with the invention of digital photography and smartphones. Although Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, it has not been able to get the most out of its technology.
The company, which has in the past excelled and almost had a monopoly on film sales, has tried unsuccessfully to reinvent itself by branding commercial and consumer printers. Kodak would continue to operate normally under bankruptcy protection but would have to sell the 1,100 patents it put up for sale in July through a court-supervised auction.
Robert Shanebrook, 64, who started at Kodak in 1967 and was the worldwide product manager for professional photographic film told the Journal, “We had this self-imposed opinion of ourselves that we could do anything, that we were undefeatable.”
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Kodak tried investing in chemicals, bathroom cleaners and medical testing, but this was unsuccessful. In 2003, Kodak announced it would no longer invest in film.
“I didn't want to stick around for the demise,” Shanebrook said.
In order to fund its obligations during bankruptcy, Kodak is in discussions with banks like Wells Fargo J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, for “debtor-in-possession financing,” the Journal reports.
Kodak's founder, George Eastman, committed suicide in 1932 while suffering from a disability which hardened the cells in his spinal cord. He left a note saying, “To my friends, my work is done. Why wait?” in what is now a museum honoring the company’s major contribution to photography. He was 77.
Msnbc reports that Kodak, which was once able to pay out large bonuses to its high ranking employee, said on Tuesday it may be removed from the New York Stock Exchange if it cannot bolster share prices over the next six months.