Eastman Kodak is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy protection from its creditors in case it is unable to sell its digital patents to raise cash.
The Wall Street Journal said that could come later this month or early February.
The once-iconic photographic film pioneer’s cash reserves are dwindling and it has been looking for a buyer for its 1,100 digital patents since last July.
Kodak shares fell about 28 percent to 47 cents on the New York Stock Exchange following the online report, which dampened investors’ hopes that the company could arrange a quick sale of its patents or a financing lifeline to keep it afloat.
A spokesman for Kodak declined to comment, saying it has a policy on not commenting on market rumours or speculation.
Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975 when one of its engineers developed a prototype that was as big as a toaster and captured black and white images. But it failed to capitalise on that innovation, 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.