Olympus Corporation announced that it has signed a “memorandum of understanding” to separate its Olympus Imaging Business Unit into a new company—referred to in the press release as simply “NewCo” for the present time—which will be sold to Japan Industrial Partners. The companies expect to have a formal agreement in place by September 30, and to finalize the transaction by the end of this year.

What this means exactly for Olympus shooters is not clear, though the press release states that NewCo will be the “successor of reputable brands such as ‘OM-D’ and ‘ZUIKO,’” with the implication that NewCo will continue to develop and support new products in those lines.

Olympus cites the contraction of the digital camera market and three consecutive years of operating losses as the reasons motivating this decision. The intent is that the new company will be able to streamline its operations to reduce costs. “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.”

During the process, Olympus’s imaging division will continue to operate as usual and intends to launch new products already planned.

For more information, see the “Signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Divesture of Imaging Solutions Business” at the global Olympus website: https://www.olympus-global.com/ir/data/announcement/2020/contents/ir00013.pdf

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