Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of this year, putting up the digital imaging patents for sale in order to slim down the company. As noted by Bloomberg, Kodak already has $830 million in exit financing (that is, money it can use to get things going again once it emerges from bankruptcy), but the money is contingent upon the sale of the patent portfolio for at least $500 million. Apple and Google had been leading their own independent groups in attempting to buy the patents, but neither group was willing to break the $500 million barrier on their own.
But now, the two teams teamed up together so they can pool their money to buy the patents once and for all. The entire group goes beyond just Apple and Google—it reportedly includes other companies like Microsoft, Intellectual Ventures (the mysterious parent-seeming company of Lodsys, the firm suing independent app developers), another patent holding firm named RPX Corp., and "Asian makers of Google’s Android phones," according to the sources.
This rumor follows a similar one that popped up in August, which claimed that Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC, LG, and others had agreed to work together to buy Kodak's patents. As Chris Foresman wrote at that time, "[t]he interest here seems to be mutual benefit, as Kodak has aimed its digital imaging patents in lawsuits against Apple, RIM, HTC, Samsung, and other smartphone makers."