Kodak makes a future focus fix

Co. buys Laser-Pacific, ups digital role

Eastman Kodak is buying prominent Hollywood post-production house Laser-Pacific Media for $30.5 million, in a move that gives the film giant a substantial handhold on TV work and expands the range of feature film services it can offer.

It’s an important step for Kodak, which for decades has been Hollywood’s lead provider of film stock but faces an uncertain future in a digital age.

Over the past decade, the company has developed technologies such as film scanners that are used in digital moviemaking. But moving into the services side of technology, as the deal does, gives the company a new and potentially vital role in a future where film will be used far less.

Kodak will have the option to pay either cash or stock at a price per share of $4.22. Laser-Pacific, which had $3.3 million in debt on March 30, booked $31.8 million in revenues last year. Deal is expected to close in October, and no job losses are anticipated.

Run as subsid

Laser-Pacific will be run as a wholly owned subsid by co-founder and prexy Emory Cohen, who will report to Bertrand Decoux, general manager and VP of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging Services division.

Founded in 1990, Laser-Pacific has won six Emmy awards for its engineering development achievements. It provides post-production services for features, homevideo and TV, including film processing, transfer, editing, mastering, digital previews and DVD compression and authoring.

“This is a natural alliance,” said Cohen. “There is a mutual commitment to supporting the creative community by providing products and services that enable the use of film and digital tools in their highest quality and most efficient forms.”

Decoux recently oversaw a restructuring of the division’s Cinesite subsid, which provides post-production, film restoration and digital intermediate services in its Hollywood office. Cinesite’s London office specializes in f/x work, both digital and practical, and miniature services, having recently hired Anthony Harrington and the Magic Camera team from shuttered U.K. effects house the Mill.

“Laser-Pacific and Cinesite, in terms of the portfolio of services they offer, are very complementary,” Decoux said. “It’s also complementary for the segments of the business they serve. We’re going to have a pretty much end-to-end solution here.”