Voice of the Industry
Investor firm petitions for sale or turnaround at Kodak
By Adam Dewitz
Published: March 2, 2011
Investment Partners Asset Management, a New Jersey investment management firm, is petitioning two of the largest holders of Kodak requesting that they lead an effort to effect change at the company:
Investment Partners Asset Management (IPAM), announced today that it sent a letter to Legg Mason Capital and Fidelity Management, who combined, through accounts they each manage separately, hold approximately 24.05% of Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) according to their latest 13F filings. The letter asks these fiduciaries to recognize Kodak’s deteriorating financial condition and substantial diminution of shareholder value over the past several years, and requests that they take a leadership position in effecting change at the company.
In the letter, IPAM also points out that, despite the poor financial performance of Kodak, the value of the Chairman and CEO’s annual total compensation package has averaged approximately $6.5 million per year according to the last five filed proxy statements, and was valued at more than $9.0 million in 2007 alone. Additionally, the letter discusses Kodak’s thus-far failed multi-year transition to become a profitable digital company, and requests that Legg Mason Capital and Fidelity Management, as Kodak’s largest owners, exert their shareholder rights. Specifically, IPAM suggests these fiduciaries spearhead an effort to install turn-around specialists on Kodak’s management and board, or force Kodak to be sold to a larger concern that has resources to commercialize the company’s intellectual property more efficiently.
Accounts managed by IPAM and its affiliates own approximately 205,313 shares of Eastman Kodak, and $1.0 million face amount of Eastman Kodak’s 7% convertible bonds.
Following its annual strategy meeting last month Kodak shared plans to achieve sustainable profitability profits by 2012. Kodak's plan relies on revenue in its core growth businesses, consumer imaging and commercial printing, to double in size by the end of 2013.