Mid-South business headlines: Memphis-based company strikes gold after investment in Kodak

Mid-South business headlines: First-of-its-kind federal loans is boon for Memphis firm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis-based company struck gold last week after investing in photographic film-maker Kodak.

That company is Southeastern Asset Management, an investment firm founded in 1975 owned by Mason Hawkins and his business partner Staley Cates, two of the most wealthy Memphians alive, according to Memphis Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Greg Akers.

“This company is hugely successful. They have assets in the billions -- $35 billion I believe,” said Akers. “And last year they bought a 56% stake in Kodak. So they own the company.”

Kodak received a first-of-its-kind $765 million federal loan to get into the drug production business.

Akers says it may be helpful to think of Kodak as a chemical company.

“Of course film making, developing films uses a lot of chemicals,” said Akers. “This loan will help them to build out a pharmaceutical chemical division which may ultimately account for a third or up to a half of its overall business.”

According to Akers, Southeastern Asset Management is a large philanthropic force in the Bluff City, funding many educational and civic non-profits and other things we hear and talk about in Memphis.

“It doesn’t hurt any of use that they have more money, perhaps more leverage, to give out more money than they might have otherwise,” said Akers. “So there’s no downside for us even if we don’t ourselves own Kodak.”

You can find these stories and more online at MemphisBusinessJournal.com

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