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Breaking News - Olympus Imaging Business To Be Sold To JIP Inc

Due to continued losses in the Imaging Division, Olympus Imaging Business is due to be sold to Japan Industrial Partners Inc, in order to separate the imaging division. Olympus cameras and lenses will continue to be manufactured.

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Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

Olympus Corporation has announced the planned sale of the Olympus Imaging Business to Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. due to losses experiences over the last 3 years. The plan is that the imaging business will continue to release Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses under the Olympus and ZUIKO names. Olympus' most recent camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, released this year.


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Update from Olympus UK, which can be found on Facebook:

Today the Olympus Imaging Business has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP). According to the MOU, both companies are entering into further discussions about the potential transfer of Olympus’ long-standing imaging business to JIP by the end of 2020.

JIP is a strong investment fund with a track record of success and has maximized the growth of many brands. JIP will use the innovative technologies and solid brand position of Olympus within the market, while also improving the profit structure of Olympus’ imaging business.

We understand you may have many questions, all of which we will work to answer in the upcoming weeks. We ask for your patience: we believe this is the right step to preserve our brand’s legacy, the products, and the value of our technology. Olympus sees this potential transfer as an opportunity to enable our imaging business to grow and delight both longtime and new photography enthusiasts. Olympus and JIP will continue discussions, and we are committed to providing full transparency about our intentions as the plans solidify.

We are grateful to all our customers for their loyalty and support for our products, and their passion for photography. During the ongoing discussions, Olympus Imaging will operate with business as usual: we will continue to work on innovative initiatives for our customers and we will launch new products as planned.


Update: Olympus has posted a further statement regarding their commitment to the photo industry and customers:

"Today, Olympus signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP). According to the MOU, both companies are committed to entering into further discussions about the transfer of Olympus’ long-standing Imaging business, known for its digital cameras and IC recorders, to JIP by the end of 2020."

"During the ongoing discussions, Imaging will continue business as usual. Sales, service and marketing departments will continue to work hard to support customers passionate about photography with great products and services."

"We believe this is the right step to preserve the legacy of the brand, the value of the technologies and the outstanding products. Olympus sees this transfer as an opportunity to enable its Imaging business to continue providing value to longtime and new customers, fans and photography enthusiasts."



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From Olympus: June 24, 2020 - Signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Divestiture of Imaging Business

Olympus Corporation ("Olympus") and Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. ("JIP") hereby announce that, today, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to carveout Olympus’s Imaging business to a new company (“NewCo”) and subsequently transfer its shares to a fund managed, operated or otherwise handled by JIP (the "Transaction").

After the due diligence and further discussions and negotiations, the parties are aiming to sign a legally-binding definitive agreement for the Transaction (the "Definitive Agreement") by September 30, 2020. We will promptly make further announcement if any matters relating to the Transaction that needs further announcement occur.


1. Background and Purpose of the Transaction

Olympus's Imaging business began with the manufacture and sale of a camera using the photographic lens Zuiko in 1936. Through innovative technology and unique product development capabilities, Olympus has developed and launched various products, aiming to contribute to make people’s lives more fulfilling. Those products include: Olympus Pen, the innovative half-sized camera; Zuiko Pearlcorder, the world's first micro-cassette tape recorder; and Olympus OM-D series, the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

Olympus has implemented measures to cope with the extremely severe digital camera market, due to, amongst others, rapid market shrink caused by the evolution of smartphones; Olympus has improved the cost structure by restructuring the manufacturing bases and focusing on high-value-added interchangeable lenses, aiming to rectify the earning structure to those that may continue generating profit even as sales dwindles. Despite all such efforts, Olympus’s Imaging business recorded operating losses for 3 consecutive fiscal years up to the term ended in March 2020.

Under such circumstances, Olympus considers that, by carving-out the Imaging business and by operating the business with JIP, the Imaging business’s corporate structure may become more compact, efficient and agile and it is the most appropriate way to realize its self-sustainable and continuous growth and to bring values to the users of our products as well as our employees working in the Imaging business. Olympus therefore has decided to sign the memorandum of understanding for the Transaction.

JIP has strong track records in supporting strategic carve-outs that realize growth potential and encourage autonomous growth. By adding support from JIP, the NewCo, as the successor of reputable brands such as “OM-D” and “ZUIKO,” will utilize the innovative technology and unique product development capabilities which have been developed within Olympus, and will realize continuous growth of the business by bringing better products and services to the users and customers and by making itself a productive and rewarding work place for its employees.


2. Imaging Business after the Transaction

NewCo will succeed and maintain the research and development functions and manufacturing functions globally as reformed under the contemplated structuring reforms to continue to offer high-quality, highly reliable products; and also continue to provide supports to the imaging solution products that have been distributed by Olympus.


3. Outline of the Transaction

The specifics of the Transaction shall be decided in the Definitive Agreement after careful examination and consultation between the parties. The parties currently consider the outline of the Transaction shall be as follows.

The parties will proceed with the actions and procedures for Transactions in full compliance with applicable laws including consultation obligations and other requirements under local employment laws.

1. Structure: (i) Olympus’s Imaging business will be transferred to the NewCo by way of company split or otherwise, and then, (ii) shares in the NewCo will be transferred to a new company to be established by JIP.

2. Signing of Definitive Agreement: Scheduled to be signed by September 30, 2020

3. Closing: Olympus and JIP strive to close the Transaction by December 31, 2020.

4. Structuring Reform

Prior to the closing of the Transaction, Olympus plans to implement structuring reforms to the Imaging business aiming to change the business structure of Imaging business to be more profitable and sustainable.

We are currently investigating costs and other impacts of the structuring reform. If any future event which requires disclosure arises, Olympus will announce it promptly.


Via 43rumors.

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JackAllTog Plus
13 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2020 11:50AM
So Olympus branded camera manufacturing won't be owned by Olympus anymore, and a new company and management structure will manufacture the cameras instead as a much leaner organisation to find profit.
The questions then for me are how this new structure can also keep focused development; Also will they make further use of their sony viao links, what will the new distribution channel look like (e.g. Fujifilm going direct ) and what will support be like - support of some 'Brands' is sometimes very weak in other industries.
alant1 11 14 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2020 3:54PM
So sad, so good to be a part of the Olympus UK family before mid 2005
25 Jun 2020 2:42PM
Sad indeed, I've used Olympus cameras since the 1970's including the OM1 and OM4Ti, always inventive products and utterly reliable. I cant see this ending well, luckily my current equipment may well see me out, but not the best news of the day as a working photographer.
alant1 11 14 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2020 3:53PM
I wonder if this will see the end of micro 4/3?
Olympus seemed to be instrumental in continued development of the format but it must have cost and there was always this v that format to argue.
JackAllTog Plus
13 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2020 4:21PM
Isn't micro 4/3 well established now with many players, certainly at least in the short term JIP is committed to continuing the Olympus Stable of offerings. And presumably they also have plans to take it forward somewhere. I'd not write the product off yet at all. Perhaps it will even become more popular is their cost savings result in lower priced units as well Grin
alant1 11 14 United Kingdom
26 Jun 2020 3:30AM
I have read few developments other than olympus and other main players possibly moving to alternative formats.
Maybe wrong of course but will JIP want to go more mainstream?
Just Jas Plus
20 26.4k 1 England
28 Jun 2020 12:18PM
I was sold on the E-P1 when it first came out. I eventually bought one second hand, which I used quite successfully, apart from the problem of the screen in bright sunlight. So I bought an OMD- M5. However, I found this too fiddly to use, inadvertent button pressing leaving me in modes I didn't want. So it lies in the cupboard most times unused. Misled by the original success of the E-P1 I feel that I have moved in the wrong direction in my choice of camera system.
WestCamera 3 121 United States
28 Jun 2020 6:40PM
In Japan it is illegal for a company to ax divisions and lay off large numbers of employees. So it is customary to sell them off. JIP will strip assets. Probably sell most asses to a Chinese knockoff company who will cheapen the brand to increase profit. Why would any Japanese company be investing in a low selling brand in a shrinking consumer market? Not going to happen.
alant1 11 14 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2020 3:00AM
WestCamera, Olympus separated its businesses years ago way before the scandal that so damages them.
Initial reason was to protect the endo business.
The Diagnostic business was the first to go.

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