Olympus launched its first digital camera in 1996, helping, along with competitors like Kodak and Fujifilm, usher in the digital camera revolution with its exclusive Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system.
But smartphones devastated the digital camera business, and Olympus’ consumer camera division recorded operating losses in each of the past three years, even after restructuring attempts.
Olympus has long been rumored to be interested in selling its camera business, which represents only a small part of the company’s overall holdings. However, CEO Yasuo Takeuchi had denied reports of selling the camera business in November 2019.
The JIP deal is expected to close in September. The financial details of the transaction have yet to be announced.
Citing JIP’s “strong track record in supporting strategic divisions,” the memo states that the new owners will continue to develop existing Olympus camera technologies for new products. The company did not say whether it would maintain the Olympus brand.