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Kodak Denies Selling Film Division

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Responding to press speculation, a Kodak executive has denied that the company has made a decision to jettison either its consumer or motion picture film business.The response follows an early February article in The Times of London, headlined “Kodak may pull down the shutters on film business.” The story generated rumors in Hollywood and on Wall Street that Kodak is considering selling its core film business as it continues to transition to digital photography. An estimated price tag of $1.5 billion was placed on the film division.”Kodak has made no such announcement, formally or informally,” stated Mike Morelli, VP and general manager for the Hollywood region of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging Division.”Stories of that nature did appear in some press articles” following the company’s last shareholder meeting and conference call with Wall Street analysts, said Morelli. “As you know, on calls like that a wide variety of topics are discussed broadly. Questions about the future of film and digital dominate the calls.”Kodak CEO Antonio Perez “answered all questions candidly and honestly, as he always does. Antonio conveyed [facts that] led to some widespread misrepresentation about a ‘decision to sell the film business,’” noted Morelli.The Times’ story, written by Graham Wood, the director of photography for the newspaper’s Sunday magazine, said Kodak CEO Perez in an interview “declined to comment about a possible sale or spin-off of the film business, but a source close to the company said that the idea had been discussed by Kodak board members and senior executives and was well within the realm of possibility.”According to the story, Perez noted that Hollywood’s movie industry is the last big film customer in the world for Kodak, but that the move to digital is accelerating. “Digital film is in its infancy in Hollywood, but in maybe three years we will see much more of it,” the Kodak chief stated, adding that he expected a switchover to digital over the next decade.Meanwhile, Morelli in his statement concluded: “Film remains a very viable business and important part of Kodak. We continue to invest in consumer, professional and motion picture film products. We remain committed to all our customers, as the demand for our film products remains very strong.”

Written by Jack Egan

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