Founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, the Polaroid Corporation is an international consumer electronics company, most famous for its instant film cameras. After the company’s acquisition by the Petters Group Worldwide (PGW) in 2005, Polaroid was transformed from a manufacturing company to a distribution company that sourced its products from various manufacturers around the globe. In 2008, PGW experienced legal complications, which impacted Polaroid’s sales performance, and ultimately forced Polaroid to seek bankruptcy protection.
After careful review, Gordon Brothers Group and its partners determined that despite the bankruptcy filing, the Polaroid brand had retained considerable value among a broad consumer base around the globe. Gordon Brothers Group also thought that the company’s capital-intensive distribution business model was preventing it from reaching its full financial potential. In May 2009, Gordon Brothers Group and select strategic partners purchased Polaroid’s intellectual property, including its brand and tangible assets, in a 363 liquidation sale conducted in the federal bankruptcy court for the District of Minnesota. The sale also included a 25% equity stake for Polaroid’s unsecured creditors.
Consistent with its analysis of the company’s opportunities and challenges, Gordon Brothers Group shifted Polaroid from a distribution model to a "license/royalty" business model and began aggressively securing global licensing agreements. Gordon Brothers Group initiated a raft of organizational enhancements to align with this new business model approach, including retaining the majority of Polaroid’s Minnesota-based licensing team and appointing the Executive Vice President & Director of Marketing from the acquired entity as CEO of Polaroid.
Since acquiring the brand, Polaroid has secured over 30 licensing agreements worldwide across a multitude of product categories. New categories continue to be explored, while simultaneously expanding the geographical footprint into new markets such as Latin America, China, Europe and the Middle East. Further evidence of the brand’s viability was legitimized by Polaroid’s strategic partnership with William Morris Endeavor and pop star Lady Gaga which helped deliver the brand to a younger demographic while reinforcing Polaroid’s cutting-edge image. While serving as Polaroid’s Creative Director, Lady Gaga unveiled a new line of Polaroid products under the Grey Label line, which are still in production today.