February 16, 2012
Information cycles as Kodak moves through bankruptcy can drive us all a little wild with frustration and anxiety. Trying to understand what will happen with Kodak is like walking through an oddly mercurial landscape that switches instantly from a desert to a lush valley and back again. We get no information and then we are overwhelmed and then we get none...
First, there were rumors about SIP and KRIP and health care: SIP could be frozen! KRIP is in danger! Health Care will disappear tomorrow! Kodak was tight-lipped and those rumors spread quickly. Our firm was a good resource, providing some information that countered the rumors (SIP will not be frozen, KRIP is fairly well-funded, Health Care is likely to go but it will be a long process).
Then in the first hours of January 19, 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy and the floodgates were opened: Kodak had a website, Kodak was disseminating Q&A's to its employees and retirees, T.RowePrice sent notice of changes within the most popular fund inside SIP. Our role switched from the primary information source to a primary source of financial expertise and analysis.
Then the waters dried up again. We waited. We looked expectantly to yesterday's hearing, but that ended up being more of a trickle - naming rights to a theater in CA, approval of DIP financing... small potatoes. Still no word about pension funding, no word about health care. So, we wait. Again.
In the waiting is when the rumors start. This morning there was a bank mix up and some folks didn't get their paychecks deposited in their accounts. Twitter lit up and we started getting calls - was Kodak missing payroll!? What did that mean!? Was this related to planned HR layoffs? Turns out it was just a glitch - an exceedingly ill-timed one - that was worked out very quickly.
It's certain there will be more real news and more rumors about Kodak and this bankruptcy. So, what are the lessons? Look aggressively for information, but remain a skeptic. Find legitimate sources to confirm what you hear. Follow this blog and find us on twitter (George Conboy here and Chris Cromwell here). Stay tuned to local news. We aim to continue to be a great resource for our clients and our city - If you know any other sources, share them as a comment to this blog.