There's a new face in charge at Polaroid. The instant camera giant has been snapped up by a Polish businessman.
The Minnetonka-based company, which was bought for $70 million in late 2014 by a group of investors led by the Pohlad Family, has been sold to a group headed up by Slava Smolokowski, it was confirmed in a press release Monday.
Yes, a Pole bought Polaroid from the Pohlads. Quite a tongue-twister.
While buyouts often create uncertainty among employees, the Pohlad organization believes it is leaving Polaroid in the right hands. CIO Jann Ozzello Wilcox said in the announcement the purchase means the company will stay in Minnesota and workers will see their roles "expanded."
(Disclaimer: GoMN is owned by the Pohlad Companies)
After declaring bankruptcy in 2001 and 2008, the revamped Polaroid – which is 80 years old this year – has been enjoying a resurgence, with products including its stylish Snap instant digital camera and Cube HD camera proving a big hit with consumers.
It now has more than 100 products in more than 100,000 retail stores across the world.
Where is Polaroid headed?
But Smolokowski's purchase isn't an opportunistic one. He's buying a company in which he has a genuine, vested interest, as the largest shareholder and CEO of The Impossible Project.
The Impossible Project is a Dutch company that manufactures instant cameras and instant camera film. It was founded in 2008 to make film for Polaroid 600 cameras after Polaroid announced it would stop producing the film itself. The Impossible Project even bought Polaroid's production equipment and last remaining factory to achieve this.
In 2012, it expanded to start recreating classic Polaroid cameras for sale, and released its own analog instant camera, the I-1, last year.
Smolokowski was made CEO in December 2014 and just over three years later, bought the company that inspired the creation of The Impossible Project.
Judging by his Twitter feed, you can see Smolokowski is a huge fan of the instant print format.