Eastman Kodak is reportedly preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in case it is unable to sell its digital patents to raise capital.
The once-iconic photographic film pioneer is in talks with potential lenders to secure about $1 billion in debtor-in possession financing to sustain Kodak through bankruptcy proceedings.
Kodak warned in November that it might not survive 2012 if it was unable to secure $500 million in new debt or sell its patents.
Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975 when one of its engineers developed a prototype that was as big as a toaster (pictured below) and captured black and white images.
The company failed to capitalize on digital photography and it was only when Kodak's film business began to decline a decade ago that it tried to catch up with rivals by launching a mass-market line of digital cameras.
The catch up was apparently too little too late.
Eastman Kodak was a corporate icon whose products were in every home. Now this latecomer to the digital age has fallen to penny stock status whose shares of common stock are valued at less than one dollar. EK is about to be delisted by the NYSE, and is close to receivership.
Kodak shares, which traded as high as $5.85 in the past year was down to 47 cents the last time we looked.