In 1996, Olympus launched its first digital camera – alongside competitors like Kodak and Fujifilm – helped launch the digital camera revolution with the signed Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system.
But smartphones have ruined the digital camera business, and Olympus’ consumer camera division has recorded operating losses in each of the past three years – even after restructuring attempts.
Olympus has long been interested in selling the camera business, which is only a small part of the company’s general assets. Still, CEO Yasuo Takeuchi reported that he had sold the camera business until November 2019.
The agreement with JIP is expected to be completed in September. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed yet.
Referring to JIP’s “strong historical record of supporting strategic implications”, the memorandum argues that new owners will continue to develop Olympus’ existing technologies for new products. The company did not say whether it will protect the Olympus brand.