There’s a lengthy and infrequently dishonourable custom of companies deciding to reinvent themselves to reap the benefits of the newest funding development.
Typically, it’s merely beauty, with a reputation change searching for to faucet into the brand new zeitgeist.
Throughout the dot com increase, for instance, it turned widespread for firms so as to add “.com” to their moniker.
One of the infamous examples within the UK noticed an organization known as Freepages rename itself in January 1999 to Scoot.com, after which it noticed its share worth multiply tenfold.
One other noticed Langley & Johnson, an organization that had beforehand laid pipes for the water business, reinvent itself as Medi@Make investments with the intention of investing in web firms and it too noticed its shares rocket.
Then there was African Lakes, a UK-listed former plantations operator, which renamed itself African Web.
And Parallel Photos, a movie manufacturing firm, which modified its title to NetB2B.
Such wheezes dropped out of vogue after the dot com bubble burst and, for good motive, traders have largely seen by way of them.
Biofutures Worldwide, a enterprise that beforehand transformed palm oil into biofuel, determined in 2013 to reinvent itself as a sophisticated supplies firm and rename itself Graphene Nanochem.
Traders had been persuaded to again the corporate and purchase new shares at 140p every. These shares can at the moment be picked up for round 1.9p every.
Kodak’s Brownie Particular Six-20 and the Pocket Instamatic 20
Such an tried reinvention now seems to be underway at what was as soon as one of many world’s greatest firms.
Eastman Kodak, as soon as the world’s greatest makers of photographic movie, noticed its share worth double on Wall Avenue on Tuesday night when it stated it was getting into the world of cryptocurrencies.
It’s launching a brand new coin, KodakCOIN, which is able to assist a platform serving to photographers licence their work and monitor the unlicensed use of it.
Kodak shouldn’t be the one enterprise to leap aboard the cryptocurrency bandwagon.
Simply earlier than Christmas, a loss-making US drinks firm known as Lengthy island Iced Tea Corp introduced it was altering its title to Lengthy Blockchain Corp and stated it could now search to spend money on or associate with firms growing blockchain, the expertise that underpins Bitcoin and different crypto currencies.
Its shares greater than doubled on the information, which was accompanied by a pledge that it could nonetheless retain “a beverage subsidiary”.
Different examples embody Chanticleer, a US burger restaurant chain, which noticed shares shoot up by 40% when it introduced final week that it was going to make use of blockchain expertise to assist a buyer loyalty scheme.
Kodak’s tried reinvention is by far probably the most eye-catching, although.
It is a firm that, within the early 1970s, was within the so-called “Nifty Fifty”.
This was by no means a proper inventory index as such however was a reputation utilized to a gaggle of 50 American firms that had been considered promising strong and dependable earnings progress on which traders may rely whatever the financial backdrop or how the broader inventory market was performing.
Accordingly, they had been granted outlandish inventory market valuations.
At a time when the US market was buying and selling on a mean score of 15 instances anticipated earnings, these companies traded at round 40 instances earnings, if no more.
They included amongst their quantity companies like Pfizer, Walt Disney and Wal-Mart, that at the moment stay among the many world’s greatest firms.
But additionally they included quite a few firms that both not exist in their very own proper, reminiscent of Emery Air Freight and Simplicity Patterns; which merged with different firms, reminiscent of Squibb and Burroughs; or which limp on as a shadow of their former selves as a result of their expertise was outdated.
This latter grouping consists of the likes of Polaroid and Xerox in addition to Kodak itself.
Kodak’s fall from grace continues to be surprising.
In 1976, it accounted for 90% of all US movie gross sales and 85% of all US digicam gross sales.
There have been early warnings indicators when, shortly after that, Fuji entered the US market however Kodak shrugged off the problem within the perception American shoppers wouldn’t change to a Japanese model. It shortly misplaced market share.
However the rot actually set in when, within the late 1990s, it was late to supply digital images merchandise and fell behind the likes of Canon and Nikon.
Worse was to come back when digital cameras turned embedded in cell phones and tablets.
Even after the doubling of the share worth, the corporate is now value lower than $290m, having been value almost $20bn as just lately as 1995.
This reinvention could have offered a rocket increase to Kodak’s share worth – however the long-term image stays, sadly, one in every of decline.