Polaroid Corp., the instant camera maker that was a "glamour" investment 30 years ago, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday.
The company had narrowly avoided bankruptcy this summer when it missed interest payments on its substantial debt. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company has been trying to restructure $900 million in debt and lost $109.9 million in the quarter ended July 2.
In a statement, Polaroid said it is hoping to find another company to buy it.
Former 'Nifty Fifty' faltered after it failed to respond quickly to trend toward digital photography
The Delaware bankruptcy court chief judge, Peter Walsh, granted Polaroid $13.1 million in emergency funds for payroll expenses.
Trading in Polaroid's stock was halted on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday among rumors of the impending filing. On Tuesday, the shares closed at 28 cents, down 15 cents.
In the early 1970s, the company's stock had been counted among the "Nifty Fifty" -- a list of stocks that investors could supposedly buy and hold forever.
In those days, the company's technology made Polaroid a household name and firmly established it as the number one instant film development company. But the company did not respond quickly when affordable digital photography started to hit store shelves, allowing consumers to use a more versatile type of instant photography.
The company's current management is seen by many in the industry as having the right ideas for the digital era, but as having hesitated too long before stepping in.
"They started really late," said Alexis Gerard, president of Future Image, digital imaging research and consultancy firm. Gerard said that, for a photography company, embracing digital means a radical cultural shift that wiser companies like Kodak started before there was much at stake.
Chief executive Gary DiCamillo "once described to me the task that he had at Polaroid as having to change the engine while the car is running," Gerard said.
The firm has had some limited success in the digital arena, going against dominant and far larger companies such as Sony and Kodak. According to research firm NPD Intelect, Polaroid is in the number five slot in terms of units sold in the digital camera market and has gained 2.7 market share points this year.
The company also has had recent success in its traditional film camera business. The I-Zone Instant Pocket camera, a $25 film camera that produces thumbnail-size images on stickers, was the best selling camera in America last year.
"The I-Zone was a big success," said David Kathman, a stock analyst who follows Polaroid for Morningstar. "But it was kind of a fad. That product alone can't carry a company."
The instant film-developing technology that made the company famous was designed by Polaroid founder Edwin Land in the late '40s, after his young daughter asked him why she had to wait to see photographs he had taken.
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