Patriarch acquires Polaroid assets in bankruptcy auction

The New York-based firm’s $59m bid for the iconic film company bested three other investment groups. It puts the company in private equity hands for the third time.

Turnaround-focused Patriarch Partners has beaten three rival bidders to win a bankruptcy court-supervised auction for Polaroid. The firm will acquire nearly all of the company’s assets – including intellectual property rights, brand name and photography collection – for $59.1 million.

New York-based Patriarch’s winning bid placed it ahead of competing investment groups PHC Acquisitions, Ritchie Capital Management and a group of Polaroid lien holders including Acorn Capital Group. The deal is subject to court approval at a hearing scheduled for 6 April.

Polaroid had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and was purchased shortly after by One Equity Partners, which is owned by JPMorgan Chase. It was subsequently acquired by Petters Group Worldwide in 2005 for $426 million and filed for bankruptcy again in December amid charges that the firm’s founder, Thomas Petters, was running a $3 billion Ponzi scheme.

Once the deal is completed Patriarch will look at ways to help Polaroid recover its former position in the digital photography and consumer electronics sectors. “We intend to continue rebuilding the brand of this great American company on a worldwide scale and to re-establish Polaroid as a globally acknowledged innovator,” Patriarch chief executive officer Lynn Tilton said in a statement.

Patriarch, which was founded in 2000 by Goldman Sachs veteran Tilton, has focused its investments on distressed companies, managing funds with more than $6 billion in equity. The firm last October invested $80 million in Xinhua Media Finance, and has previously invested in companies like Rand McNally, Arizona Iced Tea and MD Helicopters.