Sony to invest £400m in Olympus?

Sony could be about to become Olympus' single biggest shareholder.

Sony could be about to pump almost £400m into struggling camera company Olympus.

The two companies are in the final stages of discussions, according to Nikkei. Sony's 50bn yen (£399m) investment would make it Olympus' single biggest shareholder, holding more than 10 per cent of its stock.

It's thought Olympus and Sony would work together on medical equipment and in other areas, though there are no concrete details. Olympus has 70 per cent of the market for endoscopes, while Sony is big in optical sensors, so together they could be a force to be reckoned with.

Expanding further into the medical market could be a wise move for Olympus as the company's camera business has steadily been losing money for the last two years, despite some pretty nifty Micro Four Thirds models . And let's not forget the hard-as-nails tough cams . Sony is also struggling of late, planning to let go thousands of staff .

It would be a much-needed boost for Olympus, which has been struggling since former president Michael Woodford tried to hide nearly £1bn of investment losses dating back to the 1990s. Woodford was fired, and then attempted a coup, demanding the entire board resign, and telling shareholders and employees his return would clean up the company. Nice try.

Olympus' head office was even raided live on Japanese TV back before Christmas, with a horde of besuited Matrix extra lookalikes storming in to get to the bottom of the matter. It was a dramatic scene indeed.

Sony competed with Panasonic, Fujifilm and Terumo Corp to seal the partnership with Olympus. It was initially thought that Panasonic would be the most likely potential partner for the ailing company, as it already works with Olympus on the Micro Four Thirds technology. 

A deal is expected sometime next month, but both companies have refused to comment on the matter for now.

Do you think Sony should invest in Olympus? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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