Olympus refused the Fuji partnership proposal?


The German journal “Frankfurter Allgemeine” interviewed the Fuji president Komori. He admitted that Fuji send a partnership offer to Olympus. He says literally that “we were” (and not we are!) interested in Olympus. He uses the past because he said that Olympus is trying to remain independent and to solve their financial problems in house instead of joining a partnership. Komori adds that he “understands” Olympus decision. Anyway, nothing is over yet, the new Olympus board has still to meet in June and decide if it’s possible to avoid any partnership that would kill their independence.

Of course Fuji’s main interest is the Olympus medical division. Just yesterday Olympus announced the world’s thinnest industrial videoscope, packs HDR (video on Engadget). Also Sony and Panasonic are candidates for a partnership (latest news here at Marketwatch).

P.S.: Meantime the battle between Michael Woodford and Olympus is over. He settles with Olympus for a rumored amount of £10m (Source: Telegraph).

  • Mike

    I for one would prefer to see Olympus remain independent. I’ve loved Olympus cameras from the OM days and would hate to see the Olympus pedigree disappear. They have created some of the most innovative cameras and feature sets and their disappearance would be strong a possibility if they enter a partnership with a larger company.

  • uiti

    One Japanese News Paper says that Olympus are going to get partnership with Panasonic or Sony.
    My hope is M4/3 get Fuji sensor!! Do fuji sell their own sensor to Panny or Oly.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Discarding/weakening m4/3 products of Olympus to weaken m4/3 and Panasonic could be in interests of Sony if they bought Olympus.

      Panasonic would be in that way best partner because they have big interest in keeping m4/3 as strong as possible and having Olympus around making products is good for that.

      • Sunny

        Do you really think Sony is going to pay much money and then kill what they have paid for? Funny thought!

        • twoomy

          Not so funny at all and it happens quite often in the corporate world (although I doubt it’s happening here). Buy out your competitor and then kill them off, stealing whatever little bits of flesh are useful to you. It’s a sound and heartless practice, especially in the software development industry.

          • Sunny

            But it doesn´t make any sense if you´re burning much more money with that than you can possibly gain.

    • E-1

      For sure I don’t want the Fuji sensor, which would – scaled to m43 – have around roughly 10mp (differs a litte due to aspect ratio). A nearly as good (1600-3200ISO) 16mp E-M5 sensor is much more to my liking.

  • I think Olympus can remain independent as long as they don’t make any mistakes and keep bringing out new innovative products for all their divisions and market them well…

    Nice to see the Olympus share price continue to recover :)

  • Miroslav

    It’s now in the past, but I think it’s a pity Fuji and Olympus camera divisions haven’t formed some kind of partnership. Fuji’s sensor know-how and Olympus’ lens expertise combined would make one hell of a system. Now that Fuji have gone their own way, good luck to them with their X mount…

    • Mr. Reeee

      Then all they’d need to do is find someone who can design a decent, intuitive interface.

  • All this partnership talk has clearly very little to do with camera business. The major corporations are interested in Olympus scientific and medical applications. Consumer imaging is more a brand recognition thing than it is a revenue generator, especially when thinking in terms of long term investment.

  • bilgy_no1

    Olympus will cut 2,500 jobs as part of an effort to restore financial health. Most of the jobs will be cut in the camera division:


    I guess it will mostly affect the compact camera business. We have already heard some remarks that point in that direction.

    And Olympus plans to sell a minority stake to either Sony or Panasonic. This may seem a bit strange, since both of these companies are not in the best of shapes themselves…

    • Amadeo

      I know this may sound like a lie, but over the memorial day weekend, after the Olympus Q4 numbers were released, I looked up the names of the CEO of Olympus America and the President of the camera division. Karl Watanabe and Nacho Abia, respectively.

      I applauded them for introducing me to photography in college, 4 years go. But went on to tell them that they need to optimize their business, by trimming their product lineup significantly, and cutting staff. I said I want to see them survive, and to do that, they need to start turning a profit.

      Nacho Abia actually replied to me the following day with a short response that said he would share my email with the product planning team.

      Not much, but now this news comes out…it seems that what I was recommending was already in the works. Interesting. Maybe I should email him back.

  • Tom

    I still think that EPSON would make the best financial partner; wouldn’t cannibalise respective products, good technology sharing platform and can mutually promote their wares for that matter.
    Yes Oly need sensors from somewhere but signing any deal solely on that front makes no sense.

  • napalm

    2,500 lost jobs and Woodford gets a multi-million dollar settlement for “wrongful dismissal”. such a fair world this is…

    • Amadeo

      I know little about the scandal details, but if he was in fact forced out as a result of whistle blowing, then he deserves SOMETHING. The Yahoo article reads as though he uncovered the accounting scandal, and got kicked out…

      • Mr. Reeee

        Yep, that’s pretty much the case. He did the right thing and the entrenched Oly management tried to shut him up. The way he played his hand after he was dismissed was, shall we say, unimpressive.

        @Mike … A corporate weasel would keep his mouth shut, go along with the status quo and be made richer for it.

    • flash

      Hopefully, he will get help. They have drugs that can help him now.

    • Woodford uncovered an blew the whistle on a > US$1B fraud. Instead of lining his pockets and playing along, he did the right thing — blew the whistle.

      And he got fired for it. He even kept blowing the whistle even AFTER he was fired, i.e., no longer getting paid for defending Olympus.

      He also won the 2012 Sentinel award from the ACFE (fraud examiners for corporations; http://www.acfe.com/press-release.aspx?id=4294972282) for exposing the fraud. That’s high praise considering the number of frauds these days.

      Whistleblowing is some of the hardest, most nerve-wracking and family endangering work to undertake. It hardly ever goes as it “should” — since the defense racket is usually entrenched and far more powerful than the whistleblower. On top of that, people generally turn a deaf ear and blind eye to extreme news (look at Nazi Germany, Uganda under Idi Amin, ad nauseam), and a surprising number of people don’t even appreciate it AFTER THE FACT.

      The facts are Woodford kept Olympus from going deeper into debt, brought to light a massive fraud and defensive racket (still in place), and helped save the corporation from ever deepening yet hidden crisis. That’s a lot of success for getting fired.

      £10m is peanuts for what he did. And he did Olympus a favor by settling early — so they can now pretend they’ve moved on (even though the entrenched racket is still in place; perhaps a few new faces, but the new board was appointed by the old board, so corruption lives on).

      So give Woodford some credit, because he moved a mountain most people would skirt. And he would probably have been hired back on, except the majority shareholders clammed up, refreshed their board with new faces, and kept the business “all in the family.” Japan and the rest of the world were looking to Olympus to see if Japanese business was on the straight and narrow facing this crisis. I’d say Olympus special interest (in control of the board) proved otherwise.

      But Woodford did his job, even if the defense racket ultimately outlasted him.

  • Mike

    Woodford is a corporate weasle of the worst kind. No difference between him and the wall street scum.

    • Raist3d

      Yes, because Olympus fooling and doing a scam for years is ok for investors and the company reputation right? What a weasel Woodford is for trying to do the right thing!

      • Ross

        The payout figure is a little disturbing though. I don’t know how some excetives can sleep at night with the large amount of money they are paid.

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