Polaroid Reveals New Investors

Investments expected to further grow iconic brand
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Minneapolis — Pohlad Family Capitol Fund (PFCF) and “another family office investor” have acquired interests in PLR IP Holdings, the owner of the Polaroid brand and related intellectual property, from Knightsbridge Capital Partners and the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee of PBE Corp. (the former Polaroid Corporation).

The investments join those of Gordon Brothers and Hilco Global in the firm that controls global licensing of the Polaroid brand.

“We are very excited about this deal and what it means for Polaroid in 2015 and beyond,” said Scott W. Hardy, PLR IP Holdings (Polaroid) president and CEO. “The addition of these new investors to the ownership group will bring stable family capital to the Polaroid brand over the long-term. The new investors, in partnership with Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Global, are firmly committed to the viability and success of Polaroid, as well as the current business model and management team. This deal is a testament to the success we’ve achieved over the past five years and represents the next step in the ongoing resurgence of our iconic American brand.”

According to an announcement, the transaction marks “the next phase of the company’s evolution after a successful five-year effort to reestablish Polaroid as the preeminent brand for instant photography and related consumer electronics worldwide.”

In addition to owning the Polaroid brand PLR IP Holdings also holds related intellectual property, from Knightsbridge Capital Partners and the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee of PBE Corporation (the former Polaroid Corporation).

“The management team of Polaroid is exceptional and we are pleased to partner with other investors — some new and some existing — that bring additional expertise beyond our own,” the company said in a statement.

Once synonymous with instant photography, the Polaroid name is found today on a broad range of consumer electronics products including instant and digital still cameras, lifestyle action sports cameras, tablets and flat-screen TVs.

Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Global acquired the intellectual property and other assets of the Polaroid Corporation in 2009 following the company’s bankruptcy filing.

The acquisition included a material investment by Knightsbridge Capital Partners and an equity stake for the bankruptcy estate of the then Polaroid Corporation (now PBE Corp.).

Since that time, the joint venture has transformed the company into a global licensing platform under a new management team lead by Hardy. Polaroid currently has over 50 licensees.

“We are very excited to partner with these new investors to take Polaroid to the next level,” stated Kenneth S. Frieze, Gordon Brothers Group CEO. “We are proud of what we have accomplished and believe this new investment will position us to continue our work with Polaroid and contribute to other future collaborative brand projects in this space” he added.

“This transaction presents us with the opportunity to capitalize on what we see as a strong, strategic growth opportunity and to contribute to the compelling resurgence of Polaroid,” said Jann Ozzello Wilcox, chief investment officer of Marquette Companies.

“The progress we've made in revitalizing the brand is impressive,” said Jeffrey B. Hecktman, chairman and CEO of Hilco Global. “Over the years, Hilco Global has made successful strategic investments in iconic brand names and high-profile consumer companies like Polaroid and we are certain that with this new partnership and investment group, Polaroid is poised for further success.”

Polaroid’s management team and headquarters will remain in Minnetonka, Minn. The company also maintains offices in New York City and Hong Kong, with plans for expansion into other international offices.  

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