Olympus recently announced that it has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (which also bought Sony’s Vaio computer line in 2014), to sell its camera division to JIP by the end of this year.
Citing several years of market decline and the impact of COVID-19, Akhiko Murata, President, Olympus America Inc., Consumer Products Group, explained that during discussions with JIP it was decided that, “Olympus Imaging will operate business as usual and will continue to deliver innovations to our customers, launching new products as planned.”
In addition, the memorandum of understanding signed by both companies states that the new company that is carved out will be supported by JIP, will continue R&D and manufacturing functions as well as support Olympus imaging products.
Word that Olympus was selling its camera business surfaced last fall but this is the first time that the company has moved forward with the divestiture.
This 84-year-old company first entered the camera industry back in 1939 by releasing the Semi-Olympus I that used the first Zuiko lens. Over the following decades, the company went on to release popular camera models like the PEN (including the classic PEN-F in 1963) and the OM 35mm SLR system, and a number of firsts, including live view and a sensor-shaking dust reduction system, among others. One can only hope that the company, in whatever new form it may take, sticks around and its engineers continue to provide innovative imaging technologies.
You can read the official Memorandum of Understanding here.
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