Olympus eyes layoffs, equity stake sale in wake of scandal

The company is reportedly planning to lay off 2,500 employees and sell a portion of its operation to Sony or Panasonic.

Olympus America

After a massive scandal left the company in shambles, Olympus is trying to pull itself out with layoffs and a possible equity sale, according to a new report.

According to Japanese news outlet Nikkei Business Daily, Olympus plans to cut 2,500 jobs from its payroll, representing about 7 percent of its total workforce. In addition, it hopes to sell a portion of its business to fellow Japanese giants Panasonic or Sony to raise some cash, Japanese papers are reporting today, according to Reuters. Olympus is reportedly ready to hand over about 10 percent of equity for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Olympus found itself in deep trouble back in October when its dismissed president and CEO Michael Woodford presented documents to the media showing the company engaging in odd accounting practices, payouts, and other financial dealings designed to coverup its losses over more than a decade. When the dust finally settled, the alleged fraud was valued at about $1.7 billion.

Back in February, things took an even worse turn for Olympus as seven people, including its former chairman and president, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, were arrested . That news came just after it announced that it would lose about $410 million this year -- a figure that has sent investors fleeing.

With this new plan, however, Olympus could cut costs and raise some much-needed cash to keep its operation somewhat stable. That said, the companies that are reportedly chief among those most likely to invest in Olympus -- Panasonic and Sony -- aren't exactly lighting the tech world on fire.

Sony is in the process of restructuring its operation, and with a new CEO in place, is in a state of flux. Panasonic is reportedly considering laying off as many as 3,500 people in its headquarters as part of its own restructuring plans.

CNET has contacted Olympus for comment on the Japanese paper reports. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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