Bloomberg News

Kodak Can Reject Deal for Oscar Theater Rights, Judge Says

February 15, 2012

(Updates with judge’s comment in third paragraph.)

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Eastman Kodak Co., the photography pioneer that filed for bankruptcy, can reject a deal for naming rights to the theater in Los Angeles that hosts the annual Academy Awards show, a judge ruled.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan approved a request today to end the Kodak Theatre sponsorship agreement to save money as the company restructures. The approval comes less than two weeks before the film industry’s Oscar awards show, set for Feb. 26.

“They have due regard for the interest of their creditor body, and they just don’t want to pay this money for the next nine years,” Gropper said at a court hearing.

The agreement required Kodak to pay $72 million in annual installments over 20 years, according to a court filing. Kodak pays $3.6 million a year and has $38 million in payments left on the contract, Pauline Morgan, a Kodak lawyer, said in court.

Kodak said in a court filing that the costs of the agreement outweigh any benefits from the naming rights and that rejecting it was in the best interest of the company and its creditors.

“It’s tantamount to handing the keys over to the landlord,” Morgan said about the rejection.

The case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

--Editors: Glenn Holdcraft, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in New York at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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