In June the shocking news broke that Olympus had decided to sell (opens in new tab) its camera division to the Japanese private equity fund Japan Industrial Partners (JIP). However, now it appears that Panasonic could be considering a similar move. This rumor comes from an article about trends in Panasonic's camera business in the Japanese publication Nikkei.
According to estimates by Ryusuke Katsura, the senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities, Panasonic's camera business had a loss of 2.5 billion yen in the period of April–June 2020, which is approximately $23,544,812.
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The Nikkei article, via website (opens in new tab) Digicame–info, also explained that Panasonic's camera business wasn't able to fully benefit from the expansion of the mirrorless market and is currently not performing as well as it could be. "Camera companies are under pressure to make a fundamental shift in business format," Katsura said.
This helps to explain Olympus' move to sell to a private equity fund. While we haven't seen any significant changes in the way Olympus is doing business, it's still early days in the transition.
Apparently Panasonic is also considering some form of structural reform, with one executive saying that Panasonic's performance was worse than expected, even before taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus. He also said that he was thinking about collaborations with outsiders, although he didn't expand on what this could mean.
It would be interesting to know what kind of collaborations Panasonic would be seeking out and considering. However, we'll have to wait to see whether the company will forge ahead with these rumored plans, or whether Panasonic will be able to bounce back without the need for restructuring.