Brother Industries Ltd. has agreed to act as lead bidder for bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co.’s document-imaging business with a $210 million bid, helping the company get closer to emerging from bankruptcy.

The document-imaging business includes scanners, capture software and services to customers.

Kodak has not yet filed bidding procedures for the sale in bankruptcy court. Once the procedures are filed, the company will seek higher and better offers. If it gets any, the parties will head to a bankruptcy auction. The sale requires court approval.

Kodak, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., plans to head to hearing to get the bidding procedures approved in late April. The company wants to finalize the sale in June.

If Brother wins the assets, it will assume deferred service revenue liability of the business, which stood at about $67 million as of Dec. 31, Kodak said in a statement.

Brother manufactures a wide range of devices that use document imaging technology, including a printers and fax machines.

Lazard is serving as Kodak’s financial adviser, while Sullivan & Cromwell provides legal advice on the deal.

Kodak, which sought bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19, 2012, sold its intellectual property portfolio for much less than it expected in December. 

In December a large consortium of companies bought Kodak’s intellectual property portfolio for $525 million. Among the buyers were: Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Fujifilm Corp., Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG),HTC Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Research in Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM),RPX Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Shutterfly Inc. (Nasdaq: SFLY). 

Kodak had valued that portfolio at $2.4 billion after it filed its bankruptcy petition, according to court papers. For more, see “IP Assets of Kodak May Be Overvalued.” 

The debtor got court permission in March to amend its debtor-in-possession loan so it could refinance its previous DIP loan and convert the loan into exit financing, which could help the company come out of bankruptcy. As a condition to the loan, Kodak needs to confirm a reorganization plan by Sept. 30. 

The company had to seek bankruptcy protection after years of trying to transform from a film and consumer photography business to a business that focused on proprietary digital and printing technologies. 

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