Olympus launched its first digital camera in 1996, helping – along with competitors such as Kodak and Fujifilm – to revolutionize the digital camera with its signature Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system.
But smartphones have devastated the digital camera business, and Olympus’ consumer camera division has seen 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 is only a small part of the company’s total stake. However, CEO Yasuo Takeuchi denied reports of the sale of the camera business until November 2019.
The deal with JIP is expected to close in September. The financial data for the deal have not been announced yet.
Citing JIP’s “strong achievements in support of strategic decisions”, the memorandum states that the new owners will continue to develop existing Olympus camera technologies for new products. The company did not say whether it would keep the Olympus brand.