Olympus introduced the first digital camera in 1996, helping – along with competitors such as Kodak and Fujifilm – to launch a revolution in digital cameras with the signature Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system.
But smartphones have devastated the digital camera business, and Olympus’ consumer camera division has recorded operating losses in each of the past three years – even after restructuring attempts.
Olympus is rumored to be interested in selling its camera business, which makes up only a small portion of the company’s total stake. However, CEO Yasuo Takeuchi denied reports of the sale of the camera business as early as November 2019.
The contract with the PIU is expected to be signed in September. The financial details of the transaction have not yet been released.
Citing JIP’s “strong results in supporting strategic solutions,” the memorandum claims the new owners will continue to develop Olympus cameras with existing technologies for new products. The company did not say whether it would keep the Olympus brand.
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