The Olympus sale has been agreed: as of 01 January 2021, 95% of the Olympus Imaging division will be transferred to holding company OJ Holdings, Ltd. owned by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
From the beginning of next year, existing Olympus cameras – such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III – along with new products will be sold and serviced by OM Digital Solutions Corporation.
Notably, and reassuringly, Olympus will retain a 5% stake in the new corporation – a move that should provide a cognitive and technological tether to the brand, and assuage fears that the Olympus name would be completely dissociated from its proud heritage.
OM Digital Solutions Corporation's business will involve "the manufacture and sale of digital cameras (primarily mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras), interchangeable lenses, IC recorders, and other audio products". The full press release follows.
Olympus Agreed on Transfer of Imaging Business with JIP
Tokyo, September 30, 2020 – Olympus Corporation (“Olympus”) today concluded a definitive agreement with Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (“JIP”) regarding the transfer of the Olympus Imaging business. Under the agreement, Olympus will transfer its Imaging business to a newly established wholly-owned subsidiary of Olympus (the "New Imaging Company"), through an absorption-type split. This is to be followed by transferring 95% of the shares of the New Imaging Company on January 1, 2021, to OJ Holdings, Ltd., a special purpose company established by JIP.
Olympus began the manufacture and sale of cameras using the Zuiko lens in 1936 and became one of the world’s leading camera makers. Olympus was among the first companies to make small, lightweight compact cameras with professional quality, such as the award-winning Olympus ‘OM’ and ‘Pen’ series. Driven by the desire to make people's lives more fulfilling around the world, the company applied innovative technology and unique product development to distinguish itself in a highly competitive industry.
In recent years, however, the market has shrunk rapidly due to the evolution of smartphones, leading to a significant downturn for the digital camera market globally. Despite taking various steps to improve its cost structure and efficiency, Olympus’ Imaging business recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years up to March 2020.
Under such circumstances, Olympus concluded that, by carving-out the Imaging business and operating the business under JIP, its business structure would become more compact, efficient, and agile, and it is the most appropriate way to realize self-sustainable and continuous growth. With a loyal following and long history of innovative products, the New Imaging Company would be committed to building on Olympus’ accumulated expertise and to continue providing customers with innovative, high quality cameras under the new business structure.
“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our customers for their patronage and support of Olympus products, and for their passion devoted to photography. I have the utmost confidence that this transfer is the correct step forward in sustaining the value of our products and services,” said Yasuo Takeuchi, President and CEO of Olympus Corporation.
“At the same time, I am certain that this opportunity is the best choice for our long-time patrons, new customers and photography enthusiasts. Under the new company, the development, manufacturing, sales and service functions will continue tight collaboration to introduce new products that will satisfy customers,” Takeuchi added.
The agreement applies to Olympus’ global Imaging business, which includes all R&D and manufacturing facilities currently dedicated to its Imaging business. The New Imaging Company will continue to provide high-quality, highly reliable products. Built on a solid foundation, including the Zuiko and OM brands, which are grounded in optics and digital imaging technologies cultivated by Olympus over many years, the New Imaging Company will be appropriately positioned to further pursue new developments.
Head of sales and marketing, R&D and designing departments for imaging products will be relocated to the headquarters of the New Imaging Company in Hachioji, Tokyo. Production will continue at the location in Dong Nai province, Vietnam, where imaging products are currently manufactured. The New Imaging Company will continue to provide customer support for the imaging products which have been manufactured and sold by Olympus.
Following the transfer of the Imaging business, Olympus will concentrate on Medical and Scientific Solutions, in our ongoing efforts toward making people's lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling.
Information on the New Imaging Company is as follows.
• Company name: OM Digital Solutions Corporation
• Location: Hachioji, Tokyo
• Representative Director: Shigemi Sugimoto
• Business operations: Operations involving the manufacture and sale of digital cameras (primarily mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras), interchangeable lenses, IC recorders, and other audio products
• Capital: Not fixed
For the details about the company split and the transfer of shares, please refer our corporate disclosure “Signing of Definitive Agreement for Divestiture of Imaging Business.” (https://www.olympus-global.com/news/ir/2020/)