Investors who owned stocks in the 2010s generally experienced some big gains. In fact, the SPDR S&P 500's (NYSE: SPY) total return for the decade was 250.5%. But there’s no question some big-name stocks did much better than others along the way.
Kodak’s Difficult Decade: One underperformer of the last decade was former camera giant Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: KODK).
Kodak’s decade was defined by a bankruptcy and two major strategic pivots away from its legacy camera business.
Extreme cash burn and a secular decline in Kodak’s camera and inkjet printing businesses triggered a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2012. The bankruptcy completely wiped out legacy shareholders, and Kodak’s peak market cap of around $30 billion went down to $0.
Kodak re-emerged from bankruptcy and relisted shares in November 2013 starting at $26.50 per share. Kodak’s updated business model included segments Digital Printing & Enterprise and Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films.
When the restructured company continued to struggle to gain traction, Kodak made a seemingly desperate move by pivoting to blockchain technology in January 2018 near the peak of the bitcoin bubble. After reporting declining revenues and a $111 million net loss in the first quarter of 2020, Kodak once again pivoted to producing generic drug ingredients in July, announcing a brand new $765 million loan from the U.S. government.
After opening at $26.50 post-bankruptcy in late 2013, Kodak shares peaked at $37.73 in early 2014 before resuming the steady march downward that long-time investors had endured since the 1990s.
Kodak shares dropped as low as $2.95 in late 2017 before the blockchain pivot sent the stock skyrocketing as high as $13.27 in January, 2018. By late 2018, Kodak was making new lows again.
2020 And Beyond: After hitting an all-time low of $1.50 in March 2020, Kodak shares skyrocketed to new all-time highs on the drug news just four months later. Kodak shares peaked at $60 in the days following the announcement before pulling back to around $36.
Even after the massive 2020 run, Kodak shares have significantly lagged the S&P 500 since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2013. In fact, $1,000 worth of Kodak stock in 2013 would be worth about $1,384 today.
At the same time, $1,000 worth of legacy Kodak stock purchased in 2010 would now be worth $0 due to the bankruptcy.
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