Olympus have signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP). According to the agreement, 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. The parties are aiming to sign a legally-binding definitive agreement for the transaction  by September 30, 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.

They 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.

Olympus has decided to implement these measures to cope with the extremely severe digital camera market, due to, amongst others, the 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.

The 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.

 

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