11 October 2001

Polaroid files for federal bankruptcy protection.

The original Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection on October 11, 2001. The outcome was that within ten months, most of the business including the “Polaroid” name itself and non-bankrupt foreign subsidiaries had been sold to Bank One’s One Equity Partners. OEP Imaging Corporation then changed its name to Polaroid Holding Company. However, this new company operates using the name of its bankrupt predecessor, Polaroid Corporation.

Significant criticism surrounded this “takeover” because the process left executives of the company with large bonuses, while stockholders, as well as current and retired employees, were left with nothing. The company announced a plan that gave the top 45 executives bonuses just for staying at their jobs. Meanwhile, other employees were restricted from selling their stock before leaving their jobs.

As part of the settlement, the original Polaroid Corporation changed its name to Primary PDC, Inc. Having sold its assets, it was now effectively nothing more than an administrative shell. Primary PDC received approximately 35 percent of the “new” Polaroid, which was to be distributed to its unsecured creditors including bondholders. As of late 2006, Primary PDC remained in existence under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but conducts no commercial business and has no employees.

Polaroid’s bankruptcy is widely attributed to the failure of senior management — unable to anticipate the impact of digital cameras on its film business. This type of managerial failure is also known as the success trap

After the bankruptcy, the Polaroid brand was licensed for use on other products with the assistance of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In September 2002, World Wide Licenses, a subsidiary of The Character Group plc, was granted the exclusive rights for three years to manufacture and sell digital cameras under the Polaroid brand for distribution internationally. Polaroid branded LCDs and plasma televisions and portable DVD players had also appeared on the market.

On April 27, 2005, Petters Group Worldwide announced its acquisition of PHC. Petters has in the past bought up failed companies with well-known names for the value of those names. The same year, Flextronics purchased Polaroid’s manufacturing operations and the decision was made to send most of the manufacturing to China. It stopped making Polaroid cameras in 2007 and discontinued the sale of Polaroid film after 2009 to the dismay of loyal consumers. On December 18, 2008, the post-reorganization Polaroid Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota. The bankruptcy filing came shortly after the criminal investigation of its parent company, Petters Group Worldwide, and the parent company founder, Tom Petters.

11 October 2001

The Polaroid Corporation asks for federal bankruptcy protection.

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Polaroid Corp. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware Friday, capping three days of speculation in which the instant photography company’s stock had not traded.

The company, which has been struggling with more than $900 million in debt, said it still is considering an outright sale of all or part of the company and that it plans to cut further staff, close facilities and sell non-core assets to reduce costs.

Filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protects a company from creditors and keeps it operational until a restructuring plan can be formed to either lift it out of debt, sell, or liquidate assets.

The intent had been to pursue an out-of-court , pre-negotiated bankruptcy filing, but ultimately the company’s liquidity was just too tight and it just couldn’t hold out long enough to get a deal done,” said Brad Geer of Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, the financial firm advising Polaroid’s bondholders.

Polaroid said it has obtained a commitment for $50 million in debtor-in-possession financing from a bank group led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Upon court approval, which is expected shortly, $40 million will be available immediately on an interim basis to pay suppliers and help keep the company operational. The full $50 million commitment is subject to final court approval and other conditions.

Polaroid said it will continue to manufacture, market and distribute its core instant imaging products and to provide customer service and support. Employees will continue to be paid with full benefits.

11 October 1954

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The Viet Minh take control of North Vietnam during the first Indochina War.

The Vietnam Doc Viet Minh was a Communist front organization founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1941 to organize resistance against French colonial rule and occupying Japanese forces.

The Viet Minh launched a long and bloody guerrilla war against French colonial forces known as the First Indochina War. Ultimately, the Viet Minh, decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. On August 1, the armistice ending the war went into effect. The triumphant Viet Minh marched into Hanoi as the French prepared to withdraw their forces.

Under the provisions of the agreement signed at the Geneva Conference in July, Vietnam was to be temporarily split into approximately equal halves. The two halves were to be separated by a Demilitarized Zone. The northern half was to be governed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the southern half would be governed by the noncommunist State of Vietnam.