Woodford loses his battle. Fuji, Sony or Panasonic ready to join Olympus.

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Big japanese Olympus shareholders refused to sustain Woodford in his battle to be reinstated as CEO of the company. Reuters reports that: “The company’s main lender and major shareholder Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) is backing existing management led by CEO Shuichi Takayama, which is seeking a capital tie up with a rival company to bolster its finances.

And “Local media has reported that Sony, Fujifilm Holdings and Panasonic Corp are among the candidates that may ride to the rescue of Olympus.

In short: Japanese shareholders hold together against the foreign influence on Olympus. This will lead Olympus to make an agreement with another japanese company to realign their financial situation. I vote for Fuji. They have both a long camera history and would certainly create some amazing new products.

UPDATE: Here is the full statement from Woodford: http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/michael_woodford_statement_on_why_he_quit_olympus_fight_news_311023.html.

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  • Barry

    Sorry, but it’s ‘loses’ not ‘looses’.

    • Probably the main Japanese share holders will increase their holding or some other Japanese company (maybe industrial) will buy the new shares.
      As these are preference shares Olympus might be able to buy them back all bit it a higher price at some point in the future.
      I can’t really see Fuji, Sony or Panasonic buying shares they just gave “canned” answers to the Reuters reporters (anyone notice the Reuters reporting has become more civil and less sensational on this matter now?).

      Woodford shouldn’t of been made CEO in the first place and I think events have moved too far along for him to be even offered his old job as head of Europe Olympus (which he seemed to be doing well at).

      Let’s hope Olympus is now run in a more dynamic and profitable way …as the future could now belong to Olympus/Panny.

      I can’t see Fuji affecting Micro Four Thirds, Oly and Panny just need to sort out their North America supply and marketing.

      • Carlos

        Woodford shouldn’t of been made CEO in the first place

        Right, you’re the Olympus apologist who prefers that the corporate malfeasance and dirty dealings never be revealed. Thanks for revealing yourself there.

        • @ Carlos
          erm nope, just know how the world works and how to keep a sense of proportion.

          I never said what Olympus done was right (maybe insinuated it was the lesser of many evils), only that I would of been tempted to do what they did in their position and that I understood their reasons.

          • To your information, some of the Olympus practices were legal in 80s.

            One account I have read mentioned that among many Canon too was engaged in such practices of covering up the losses. When Jap security commission issued a warning that the practices are about to be made illegal, Canon and many others stopped doing it – but Olympus simply went on and hid it.

            How about that for the “sense of proportion”?

            What’s more. Even with the all unfair advantages Oly had for decades over the competition, they still IMO failed pretty miserably: abandoning OM, abandoning 43 and even their m43 is still troubled. How f***ing sloppy management should be, having all the advantages yet to fail???? That’s why I rooted for Woodford – because Oly management is highly incompetent at managing the Oly and needs to be replaced.

        • Maybe he really means that Woodford was not suitable for this job. Is not either and or, is different question

    • mpgxsvcd

      If Olympus joins up with Sony or Fuji then will that mean the end of m4/3s? Without Olympus m4/3s just becomes another proprietary format that only Panasonic uses.

      I really really hope Panasonic rescues Olympus. I like Olympus products. I just don’t like the way the company is run.

      • OlyFan

        Actually, as I understand, having given them the preference shares does not mean relegating its decision making to them. I think, Sony or Fuji could be a nice choice here. They may be a better partner to Oly since both of them have pretty strong sensor making capabilities. Hopefully, this arrangement will enable Oly to access their sensors.
        I have always advocated that Oly move away from Panasonic as their sensor supplier. They would never allow Oly to have their best sensors and that would never bring out the best in Oly’s cameras. Besides, without Panasonic in this equation, it would bring a nice balance to m43. If Panasonic and Oly do partner, I dont think that would motivate either of them to improve their products. Of Course all this makes sense only if Sony/Fuji agree to manufacture 4/3 sensors.
        Just my 2 pence!

      • That may be true, but that doesn’t mean it makes it right.

  • Jim Ramsey Khoury

    No Samsung? :'(

    Deep pockets and large manufacturing capability plus far less fear to innovate.

    I agree that Fuji is the next best choice though.

    • Ihateidiots

      This is Japan. No gaijin is ever going to own a Japanese company.

      • hlbt

        Own? Yes there are plenty examples of public companies where the majority stake is held by foreign investors. If you look at CEOs there’s Sony and Nissan for starters.

        • ihateidiots

          If you have bothered to follow the news, you would have noted that foreign investors have little power. The Japanese banks and Olympus are due to release new shares to be sold to Japanese companies in order to dilute foreign control. Welcome to Japan. Honestly, you Westerners ought to get a handle on how much face and ethnicity matters in N. Asia.

    • The Japanese won’t allow a foreign company to own it. RTFA.

    • rrr_hhh

      I don’t really hope for Panasonic.. Their sensors aren’t as good as those from either Sony or Fuji, so there is not much to gain for Olympus with them. Plus they are competitors, nothing good for the consumers can come out of it when the bigger competitor eat the smaller. Plus what will they do with the medical division ?

      • OlyFan

        +1
        I think Fuji would be a likely candidate here considering they have always been interested in Oly’s medical business as well. If this partnership pans out, I do hope that they dont forget the imaging division!

  • GreyOwl

    Fuji would be my preferred choice, as they seem to have the right experience in making interesting and innovative cameras that would compliment Olympus; not forgetting their expertise with sensors which could, IMHO, be an asset to Olympus.

  • Frederic Hew

    This might be good news for the camera division especially if Fuji joins as it is an imaging company. I agree with GreyOwl.

    Woodford would have been dangerous to Olympus not only because of his managerial style, but simply because he is a westerner. He would run into endless conflicts, not a good way to run a company.

    • harnamsc

      I disagree with Woodford being dangerous to Olympus. I do agree he would probably step on a lot of toes initially, but Olympus marketing and Olympus Camera Division’s overall strategy has been somewhat flawed and I honestly believe a foreign influence would break the existing mindset and bring some much needed changes.

      But that is all over now, I honestly hope Fuji will step in and become part of Micro Four-Thirds. Their organic sensor is seen as a competitor for high-end APS-C sensor camera system users, perhaps they would see Micro Four-Thirds as a chance to takeover compact camera users? The Panny G3, GX1 and the Olympus EPL3 have shown you CAN squeeze a large sensor into a body the approximate size of a compact camera. If Fuji were to join Olympus it would be a huge boost for Micro Four-Thirds development overall.

  • Boooo!

    Good. Woodford wanted to kill the camera division and is directly responsible for Olympus’ troubles in the US.

    Now gimme that E-7!

    • harnamsc

      There is no real evidence to prove your allegations, there’s only statements and articles that suggest that Woodford’s real interest was in the Olympus Medical Imaging rather than Four-Thirds or Micro Four-Thirds.

      • rrr_hhh

        Woodford was only an ambitious wanting all the power. I’m glad he didn’t win ! I hope Fuji will get the shares and possibly enter in a good synergy with Olympus, especially when it comes to sensors… They could complement themselves very well : Fuji in the higher end competing with Leicas Ms and Olympus in the middle to entry level market !

        • lnqe-M

          Oky, but i think Olympus vill complement better Sigma, by them have SD1 pro to higth price, and need also help for the other camera to Sigma.

        • shep

          What a shame you think he is “only an ambitious”. He is, more that the great majority of upper-level business people, taking an open and principled stand. Of course he’d like to be in charge again, but his reasons are clearly given and far-seeing. He has a fine sense of the need for Japan Inc. to change its ways if it ever wants to get out of its long-running doldrums.

    • Carlos

      Woodford wanted to kill the camera division and is directly responsible for Olympus’ troubles in the US.

      What planet did this happen on? Or are you just typing drunk?

      • Boooo!

        Ask your friendly local Olympus people.

      • @Carlos
        Woodford said just before Christmas that point and shoot zooms were the future – ask him what planet is he on.

      • Yes, did said something to the effect.

        He spoke of the market realities and how Olympus to survive needs to focus on something, preferably on something profitable.

        It wasn’t “kill camera division” as it was largely interpreted on forums – but more like “sell camera division”.

        IOW, pretty much the same thing many here repeatedly mention under “Fuji taking over the Olympus.”

        • @ Dummy00001
          point and shoot zooms are not the future, that market has very little margin and is being eaten away by smart phones.

          • Some of us don’t believe compact cameras HAVE to die. But in order to live, the camera companies have to stop the silly megapixels/zoom/feature iteration train that they’ve been on and actually get round to doing a small camera right.

            • @Thom Hogan
              but most point and shoot users have no affinity or love for photography, for them a smart phone is more convenient and cheaper.

              How would you do a point and shoot camera right for that customer at a price point that is right?????????????????????????????????

              • Esa Tuunanen

                But cameras in cell phones are always limited by space available for it/its optics so there will still be some market for small Point&shoots.
                Every time tech develops to allow better performance in that small space inside cell phone that advance will always enable equally much better performance in dedicated camera.

                Neither can any “compact” system camera give convenience of compact sensor ultrazooms except by going for equally small sensor to allow equally small optics so that segment also has some life left.

                • > But cameras in cell phones…

                  You’re guilty of thinking “inside the box.” Try thinking outside it.

              • Actually, as compact camera sales tank, the one area where they aren’t tanking in is the high end user. The Canon G1X will be quite successful, I suspect.

                Thing is, we went through EXACTLY the same thing with compact cameras in the film era (disposable cameras were the smartphones of the era). It appears that the Japanese camera companies just want to repeat history and haven’t learned anything from it.

                As for what I would do, I haven’t (and won’t) publish that scenario, as it involves something I did while consulting for a company.

                Personally, I believe that there are more opportunities in high tech right now than ever before. We’re currently at a point where computational power is small, fast, and cheap. Connectivity is ubiquitous. Storage likewise. But you have to take a leap, not iterate.

            • ILO

              iPhone 4S is better than many p&s cameras and you always carry it with you anyway – there is simply no reason to carry around two p&s cameras. The only thing – there is no zoom. For everything else you have m43.

      • “What planet did this happen on? Or are you just typing drunk?”

        yes he maybe too much vodka in the day, but tomorrow he will be sober, and you will still be idiot

  • omolympus

    I would also prefer Fuji due to their history and approach. However, I would suggest that the recent collaboration with Panasonic in 4/3s & m4/3s may unfortunately prevail.

    • Exactly.

      The majority here want’s Fuji to come in, yet seem to have forgotten who partnered up with Olympus in the first place when it came to M43… Panasonic is the obvious choice.

  • Henrik

    I dont know much about this but what would be the best way to keep Olympus to stay Olympus? :D I really like the brand although they have made some mistakes but who hasnt?

    Are Fuji just talking about buying shares or are we going to see a namechange on Olympus cameras from Olympus to Fuji?

  • luke

    I doubt if Fuji will join m43, because it’s unlikely they support two professional system. X mount and m43 mount. They simply don’t have the resources to do so.

    • Agreed, Fuji is not a candidate.

      • Ihateidiots

        Fuji and Sony only want the medical division.

        • lnqe-M

          Yes absolute, so i think the best choice is Epson. ;-)

    • OlyFan

      They dont have to support m43. All they have to agree is to manufacture 4/3 sensors. This way Oly Imaging will only be changing the sensor supplier.

  • Simon

    I hope the Olympus camera division (alias jpeg color master) will prevail and not killed of or merged with the rest of the bunch.

  • kesztió

    Definitely Panasonic is far the best candidate. Hoping Olympus will be assigned as much separateness as it’s possible.

    • Martin

      +1. Fuji and Sony probably only care for the medical division. They would drop the cameras, IMO. Panasonic is by far the best choice as a partner.

      • Everybody cares only about the medical division. It is foolish to think that Panasonic or Fuji are different.

        • Martin

          It’s not that clear. Panasonic shares a camera system with Olympus.. It could be quite interesting for them (more than anybody else) if they gained an access to Olympus patents, for instance.

    • +1

  • IMO we’ll see the clash of the Titans between Panny and Sony. In the end, in the camera division, it’s a sensor battle.

    If correct even the new Fuji has a Sony APS-C sensor. If one or both Fuji and Sony enter Olympus they might use it as a lever to break Panny’s predominance in m4/3.

    After Panny denying Oly its best sensors, I find it refreshing. In the short term it might mean better tech resources for Oly, while it could provide some of its own to the entrants.

    BTW it seems that the new Fujì’s hybrid is provided by Oly (but don’t listen to me, do a search).

    In the end it might even shift Oly in the APS camp, by providing some backwards compatibility to Oly lenses.

    Mirrorless, once disposed of the mirrorbox, can be infinitely flexible. Witness Fuji – you need less than 2 years to design new lenses.

    So if I were Panny I’d begin to worry. Retribution for their evil ways is coming. Oly, even in tis darkest hours has finally more choice.

    It will be interesting to see if m4/3 will survive, or for how long.

  • Martin

    > After Panny denying Oly its best sensors,…

    How many times must a common myth be repeated, till it becomes true?
    I mean, it can be exactly the other way around: Panasonic is willing to sell new sensors, but Oly refuses them (and there can be several reasons for that..)

    • OlyFan

      I’m genuinely interested to know those reasons.

      • Martin

        – large remaining stock of the old sensors,
        – price of the new ones,
        – dissatisfaction with the performance of the new sensors,
        – neceessity of expensive new development for incorporating the new sensor into camera bodies.

        Remember, Oly is now very probably in cost-cutting mode..

        • Martin

          And one more thing: Oly THEMSELVES said that they were free in their choice of sensors (in an interview one or two years ago)

          • TheEye

            And do you believe them?

            • Martin

              And do YOU believe that Panasonic does not want to sell sensors? The only truth is that we don’t know anything for a fact, so let’s not confuse our own fancies for facts..

              • lnqe-M

                +1
                Absolute right.

              • TheEye

                Did I say I knew? I’m just saying I don’t believe anything Olympus spouts. After all, they now claim they have been catering to the camera joshi all along, and that’s why m4/3 is what it is. Preposterous!

            • Martin

              And, btw, I also believe that it would be very healthy for the system if Olympus found an alternative source of sensors.

          • OlyFan

            I agree with the price reasons. Not so much about the others.
            Oly probably meant they were free to choose the sensor *provider*. They dont have a choice about which sensor they get to choose from the provider.

            Update: Just saw that you also agree that its better for the system as a whole if Oly goes to a different sensor provider. Once that happens, it would all boil down to costs – who provides better value for a decent performance.
            We are on the same page with regards to this point.

  • Low Budget Dave

    Any way you look at it, Oly’s old Board of Directors was up to their eyeballs in fake accounting, shady deals, and other less obvious forms of corruption.

    Did Olympus ever replace their Board of Directors? If not, then Fuji would be insane to invest good money in a company with unreliable financial statements.

    If Oly survives at all, it is because there is a LOT more money to be made in medical devices than in consumer cameras. Anyone who acquires them outright will most likely shut down the least profitable parts of the camera division: namely MFT.

    • @Low Budget Dave
      all accounting is fake (unless you have done the accounts yourself).

      • shep

        “All accounting is fake”. Well, many comments on blogs are worthless.

  • Vivek

    There was no battle.

    Title should have been: Woodyford falls into his trench.

    Did anyone (other than him) seriously think that there was a chance, ever?!

  • spong

    I think the most damning element of the statement is that ‘none of the major Japanese institutional shareholders have offered one word of support to me and conversely have in effect allowed the tainted and contaminated board to continue in office’. Doesn’t say much for the integrity of Japanese Institutional shareholders who on this evidence are a disgrace to their country.

    • rrr_hhh

      Yes well said Woodford fell into his own trench. It was visible since before Christmas that he would loose : the press release issued before this last one admitting defeat, was sounding like a desperate call already. He had only western funds to support him and their shares amount weren’t higher than 5%. Each time the Olympus’ shares were recovering, he would issue a negative press release bashing the new board of directors, making new accusations and downing Olympus stocks’ value.. This is not the way you can look like a savior for the company. So nothing surprising.. He was just looking like someone wanting a revenge at all costs. I’m happy he didn’t get it.

      • > Each time the Olympus’ shares were recovering, he would issue a negative press release bashing the new board of directors, making new accusations and downing Olympus stocks’ value..

        Citation needed. I call that BS. Woodford issues very very few press releases.

        Do you even understand what the stock price is? It can’t be magically decreased by a PR.

        Oly stocks simply couldn’t suddenly recover all by themselves because trade volumes in December were relatively low.

        • rrr_hhh

          When he wasn’t issuing press releases he was giving interviews, almost the same thing. He also started a website, looking for employees support.

          The links are all on this mft rumors forums, I followed them days after days since the beginnings, if you don’t remember, just make a search on this board, or look bloomberg financial news.

          • > I followed them days after days since the beginnings

            Following the story is not the same as understanding the basics of public company functioning. Those you seem to miss.

            And the only recent interview Woodford gave was about how Japanese companies are blocking him out. But yes, it’s true, factual interview, giving an account of xenophobic behavior of Jap businesspeople might easy turn down investors and trigger them to sell their Olympus shares – and sending the stock price down.

            But then again, price is down not because of what Woodford said, but it is down because of the deep corruption of the Olympus (and in general Jap) management and unwillingness of investors to jeopardize their assets any further.

            • The stock price is down because no one can appropriately value the company. They now admit to US$1.7 billion in losses, they have very little equity and a lot of debt, with Woodford gone they have no stated plan for cutting costs and increasing profits.

              In all likelihood, the current stock price is under where it should be, as there is still a number of investors who wonder how much else is hidden in Olympus’ closet. If nothing else is hidden, the stock is under priced. However, with a board and management that is implicated in past fraud vouching for their currently published data, one can’t have any confidence in the data, simple as that.

  • Miroslav

    My vote goes to Fuji as well. Whatever people think, their new mirrorless system is not a threat to m4/3, it would rather complement it fine.

    Sony would just pull the plug on Oly m4/3 and would use lens factories and R&D department for its own systems. Panasonic takeover would mean there is only one manufacturer in m4/3 and however dedicated they are to it ( and they are much more than Olympus ), they would probably kill the greatest advantage of Oly bodies – IBIS.

    • rrr_hhh

      These events aren’t recent by any means it all started three months ago. In one of your post you were speaking of December only. So, go on, dig in earlier posts.
      Further, I didn’t say that the old board was OK, only that Woodford wasn’t looking like a good alternative, more like an ambitious man fighting for his own power and not caring that much for the company employing him. After all the arrogance he has shown publicly, I’m glad he has lost.

  • Reza

    We should realize that Olympus uses not only Panasonic sensors, but also panasonic CPUs, mainboard reference designs, panasonic provided compilers, etc. In reality, it is very likely Olympus only writes the software for their cameras and designs/builds the camera exterior as long as hardware is concerned, and of course their lenses.

    So, given the extent of Panasonic involvement in Oly’s cameras, I think Panasonic is the only logical choice, and I doubt Panny would pass up on the oppurtunity of saving a partner that enriches its adopted system.

    • Yeah yeah, the PENs and E-system cameras are/were just Panny cams with the name Olympus written on it. Say no more.

    • Uh, source? I suspect (strongly!) that Oly uses their own designs based around an older ARM core, just like every other embedded system in the world. After all, look at the differenced in JPEG performance between the makers, as well as other performance parameters.

      • Depends upon camera. Many of the name companies (Nikon, Olympus, to name two) use reference designs from a subcontractor for their compact cameras. For years, that was Sanyo, who was bought by…wait for it…Panasonic.

        The CPUs in cameras actually vary far more than you think. Nikon’s DSLRs use Toshiba CPUs that are long-lost relatives of SPARC processors.

        As for JPEG performance, a lot of the image rendering is licensed from others.

        The camera makers are to a large degree integrators, not innovators and initiators. They most resemble IBM PC clone makers in that respect.

      • Reza

        The E-P1 and E-P2 (and most probably the rest of the PEN family) use a Panasonic MN-103S CPU (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?215943-E-P1-E-P2-E-PL1-hack-research&p=2039234).

        Similarly, all the Panasonic m43 cameras use the same MN-103S family of processors as well (http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/DevelopmentTools).

        It is highly likely that Olympus is buying a complete package from a subcontractor based on a Panasonic reference design.

  • rrr_hhh

    Good end ! I’m happy that this ambitious Woodford didn’t win… I read the linked press release and he sounds very hypocrite … He said he quitted the fight because his wife was getting mentally sick out of it !!! Talk about an explanation : he quitted because he lose it. His attempt to control Olympus failed lamentably because the way he used the media to keep things public almost ruined Olympus. He did as much harm to the company as the former board of directors who hid the losses. I hope Olympus will recover and make a deal with Fuji, the firm with the most photographic experience and which seems ahead in matter of sensor technology.

    • TheEye

      Yeah right, should have kept it all quiet and swept it under the rug, uh, futon. I’m surely looking forward to Fujilympus products with lots of soft- and hardware issues, from sticky aperture blades to a weird menu structure, not to mention lots of orbs. I wonder how long the lovely corrupt Olympus board will stay on after getting a slap on the proverbial risk. Maybe they can teach Fuji some clever accounting tricks, or at least advise them what not to do. ;-)

      • spong

        rrr_hhh, I take it you feel the Olympus board should have been allowed to get away with it then. I don’t know Michael Woodford, and he may or may not be an ambitious hypocrite, but the fact is he exposed fraudulent accountancy irregularities on a massive scale involving millions of dollars. He got sacked from the board for uncovering what had happened. You may think that’s OK but I don’t.

        • rrr_hhh

          There are different ways to expose a problem and try to solve it. The way Woodford chose was really detrimental to the company. After disclosing it to authorities he should have calmed down, but instead continued to issue accusations over accusations and to publicly announce that he would try to take over with a group of share owners. In fact he tried to get the Olympus shares as low as he could in order to attempt a take over.

          • TheEye

            Yeah, fraud is a “problem.” You got that right.

          • OlyFan

            I don’t agree with this. When Woodford went public with the findings, remember that he was still part of the board and possibly a share-holder himself (after having worked there for 30 years). Being part of the board, I think it was his ethical duty to inform the share-holders about the scam. Whether you blame his intentions or not, the truth is that Oly DID hide their losses and were cheating the share-holders. That is inexcusable. Woodford claims that the current board is still rotten and that is something for us to wait and see (now that the company has thwarted his attempts to become a CEO again).
            Its quite difficult to trust the board again considering all them knew what was going on right from the start. Perhaps, they were scared of getting fired to question the old chairman just like Woodford did?

          • I see. So what “different way” do you propose that the problem be exposed and solved?

            • rrr_hhh

              Stop issuing press releases after press release and keep quiet while the legal authorities sort it out, or do you think that Woodford’s aggressivety did any good to the company and its employees ? The CEO’s moral duty is to lead the company toward profit again, to lead the employees toward innovation and toward renability, not to pick fights after fights against the other members of the board. He has been detrimental to the company, after a while it has been evident that he was only looking for a revenge : he wanted even the new board out and at all costs, in order to choose his own board and become the new king. Unity is what drives a company to success, not fights, division and revenge. in time of difficulties, you have to unite behind a good and honest leader. Woodford was not playing that part, on the contrary, he was confrontational, divisive and aggressive.

              Also what we have heard here in the West is mostly one side of the story : what of Woodford conveyed through Reuter.

              • Non-responsive to my question.

                YOU wrote “There are different ways to expose a problem and try to solve it.” That’s what I was asking about.

                So your problem is in defining HOW the Olympus scandal would have been exposed if not for what Woodford did. You seem to forget that he tried to handle this behind the scenes but was rejected at least six times. It was only when the board took met for 10 minutes to fire him that he went public, which finally exposed what was going on.

                From there, it wouldn’t have mattered a lot if Woodford had kept 100% quiet after his initial post-firing interview. The press would have done the same thing they did: start researching it. Indeed, it was the press that found and reported the names of the Cayman Island partners in crime.

                I’d be the first to agree that Woodford took advantage of the press’s digging into the story to try to do what he tried to do in the first place: overthrow the ineffectual and crime-hiding board.

                In short, you’ve not answered my question.

                You and others seem to like to tar Woodford without addressing the reality of the situation: multiple presidents and multiple boards committed fraudulent acts and covered it up. They would not have been exposed without Woodford. Nothing anyone has written to date has indicated to me how the problems would have been exposed had Woodford just gone silently off into retirement.

            • @Thom Hogan
              If I had been in Woodford’s shoes:
              I would of carried on making discreet enquiries and figured what happened and more importantly whether it was still happening, if it wasn’t still happening as looks like the case I would of quietly edged out or replaced those responsible or waited for them to retire.
              In the meantime I would of moved to Japan and learnt Japanese along with it’s culture as well as actually concentrating on taking Olympus forward.

              • I’m not sure why you keep adding the “aka Anonymous.” In almost 20 years (yes 20 years) of using the Internet I have not posted anonymously, ever. I do not hide behind fake names or anonymity. I have the balls to stand behind what I write. Doesn’t mean I’m always right, but it does mean you always know what I’ve written.

                Your solution isn’t really a solution, because it ignores one fact: you can’t make discreet enquiries [sic] because the only ones who have any useful information are the ones who are hiding the fraud. This was clear from both Woodford’s audit and from the subsequent independent panel audit. Basically, the only possibility was confrontation: “what did you do and why?”

                Your notion that you just let someone commit fraud and then wait for them to retire before dealing with it is also quite amusing. Hope no British politicians ever think that’s the way things should work.

                Finally, you’re dismissive about Woodford. You don’t know if he actually understand Japanese culture or not (I believe he does), and you seem to think that he wasn’t doing anything to move Olympus forward in his role of President, something I also think ignores reality. Unfortunately, one thing that has to happen to move Olympus forward is simple: stop leaking money.

                • @Thom Hogan
                  well I figured out what was going on, I can’t see how he or you found it so difficult.
                  “Your notion that you just let someone commit fraud and then wait for them to retire before dealing with it is also quite amusing. Hope no British politicians ever think that’s the way things should work.” lol of course that happens and not just in Britain!
                  Woodford does speak Japanese and wasn’t living there when he was CEO that is a fact.
                  “one thing that has to happen to move Olympus forward is simple: stop leaking money.” lol but true.

              • That’s how you bring down a firm — you ignore or try to cover up little problems and hope they go away. What happens is that they turn into much bigger problems, and eventually bring the firm down.

                There isn’t a way to hide a billion or so hole in accounts. If the loss is off the books, it is a hidden liability that accrues interest (and therefore must be tended to, usually with more fraud) When it goes onto the books, it becomes public knowledge at which point it’s a ticking bomb because someone will ask questions.

                The problem was not with Woodford’s approach, but it may be the timing — if Olympus goes down, it will be because he was too late. If Olympus survives, it will have him to thank for it.

              • Ckb

                I have to ask you the question who gave the original information to the Facta Magazine. I have been in Japan this week and had a social meeting with a friend. His thought that the CEO before Kirakawa leaked the information. Kirakawa’s agrogance had rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and Woodford was the perfect person to give the stick to poke people. Woodford was someone’s pawn. My friend thought the idea that an investigation could be done in 6 weeks means that it was “very difficult”. A power struggle which Woodford has never really been a part of.

    • > Good end !
      > He did as much harm to the company as the former board of directors who hid the losses.

      Yeah!! Crime is no crime if we like the people who did it!!!!

      Duping bunch of people who gave Oly money is also OK – because we love Oly SO MUCH!!!

      Lady, I question your moral values. You do seem to have too few of them.

      • flash

        He went on a publicity tour with originally the idea that his life is in danger by “unsocial elements” (Olympus is not Fuji (see the murder of Fuji manager by “unsocial elements”); and the old throw all in the air and hope some thing sticks type of accusations. That is not to say that some of his complaints were not valid, but the real complaints were not original; having been reported and re-report within a month of his ouster.

        His original choose as CEO by the Olympus board, should of gotten them all thrown out; he clearly was not mature enough to hold the position. Also the disastor at Sony by the non-Japanese CEO (who in a lot of ways is brilliant) Hopefully, most of the rest of the board will be let go this spring.

        • Current board members will quietly retire over the course of the next couple of years, to be replaced by others who came up the system the exact same way. All very Japanese. And nothing will have changed other than a large amount of money will have been lost.

          • flash

            I am afraid you are right, even though it has been reported that 1/2 the board will now be outside. I try to stay optimistic. Even if it is outside it will be from their “friends” such as from their bank. Which has s to and equity in Olympus.

            As a side, the original audit group was a division of Arthur Andersen (Enron) that go bought up.

  • Vaclav

    I think that Canon would be the perfect match for Olympus camera division… they don’t have a mirrorless system and they could provide better sensors than Panasonic.. but it’s just my dream :-)

    • Actually, my opinion about both Canon and Nikon brands has raised slightly. They apparently refuse to have anything with the story. And that is +1 on my book.

  • Nick

    Let panny take over and we will have Pen-ix cameras.

  • st3v4nt

    If I’m the Olympus major share holder I will thank Woodford for his effort but will not trusted him to lead the company. The job should given to someone I could trust and Woodford definitely not the one. I sure do hope Fuji bought the Olympus but both are mountain, what happen if two mountain collide? :-)

    • I see. And who would that be?

      The problem is simple: every other top manager at Olympus is implicated. So you’d probably have to bring someone in from the outside, which generally isn’t done in Japan (Sony and Nissan notwithstanding).

  • Reto

    Let’s just hope m4/3 will continue to be a stable system. Cameras of this system are ok and choice of lenses is simply brillant (Oly 9-18mm, Panasonic 20mm e.g.). What needs to be slightly improved is the sensor (dynamic range).

    At this stage it might be unwise to invest further into the m4/3 system because it’s not clear where it’s heading to (Olympus and Panasonic together as is, Panasonic buys Olympus, Fuji or Sony buys Olympus and Olympus will leave m4/3). For Olympus management it would be certainly advisable to get their business sorted out so that consumers and pros (I’m not the only one) gain confidence.

  • dfgfsdgfsdgf

    well they are all criminals… sure they will support eachother.

  • Alberto

    I like the idea, Fuji X system with Zuiko quality lenses :-)

  • TJ

    Nikon! Then release a m43 called Nikon 2. LOL

  • > Big japanese Olympus shareholders refused to sustain Woodford in his battle to be reinstated as CEO of the company.

    That’s all no news. News is that Woodford has given up.

    Actually the most interesting should happen in next days: reaction of Western shareholders. There might also be the silence instead – a sign that they are allowed to take part in the ongoing scheme of dividing freshly printed Olympus stock.

    In the end of the day, learned lesson is: never ever invest in Japanese stocks. The market seems to be highly deregulated and pwned by xenophobic white collar mafia.

    • Yeah right. The companies of rest of the world use to display high ethical standards. They don’t produce in slave-holder nations and dictatorships. Indeed, they all should be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

      Do you really believe what you are writing?

      • TheEye

        So what’s your point? That the whole business world is crooked, and that if a company gets caught doing what every other company is doing, then this behavior should be tolerated because that’s just the way business is done? Call me a deluded idealist if you will, but what kind of low ethical standard and criminal activities are you willing to tolerate?

      • @dummy0001: You are correct. The news is that Woodford has moved on. What I predicted would happen is now happening: backroom deals.

        @donparrot: The issue is transparency. Comparatively, Nikon is a reasonably transparent company compared to Olympus. Nikon is relatively opaque compared to many Western companies. Investment risk is directly proportional to transparency. Heck, we just suffered a massive worldwide recession partly because the money brokers thought they were above that (ask any of them what was in their mortgage and asset portfolios and what their CDS did and didn’t cover; they still don’t know the answer).

        • uncle

          yeah yeah… olympus is absolute filth… nikon is clean like angel.. you make money from nikon right

          • Ah yes, the anonymous fan boy attack, complete with non-sequitor.

            I make money by writing about photographic equipment, most notably Nikon. But you seem to not have noticed that I also make money from writing reviews about Olympus equipment (see sansmirror.com). Moreover, you also seem blissfully unaware of my scathing criticisms of Nikon over the years.

            Whether Nikon is guilty of something or not has nothing to do with whether Olympus is guilty of something or not. We’re discussing Olympus here, in case you hadn’t noticed.

        • > The news is that Woodford has moved on.

          As much as I knew that would happen(*) it is still hard to accept.

          But let see what future holds.

          And it’s not like the only reason I wouldn’t buy Oly – they simply do not produce any interesting to me camera.

          (*) NOBODY hires a whistle-blower manager.

        • flash

          I believe Canon and maybe Nikon file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission; there is a lot of information in those 10Ks. Olympus has always been pretty secretive even for a Japanese company. The only reason I use to follow it’s finances was because of it wanting to purchase some Medical Companies.

          • Nikon’s financials are about the most transparent of the Japanese camera companies. They report unit shipments of pretty much everything, to boot. Olympus has recently been one of the most obscure in financial reporting, and I think we now know why: they were trying to hide something big.

            Canon is, like Fujifilm, Sony, and Panasonic, is a bit tougher to decipher. That’s because they are multi-conglomerates with lots of products across lots of categories. Because they tend to group cameras into a larger consumer electronics group, it’s difficult to tell what the camera business is doing (about two-thirds of Nikon’s business is cameras).

  • flash

    I agree with the Administrator in that Fuji is the most likely. The reason I feel this is not about the logical tie in of product lines including the non-photo stuff for Fuji, which is one of the best of all companies; but because it is the only one of the three which has been doing well. Both Panasonic and Sony stock looks about the same as Olympus this last year. Consumer electronic Japaneses companies are have not been doing that good.

    Olympus’s bankers have been behind the company and may even be calling the shots, as part of the “four”. There are a lot of tie ins between these companies, including sharing the same bankers.

    If you are not Japanese or fluent in the language and cultural, I would suggest you do not buy Japanese stock, unless the company is files with the US Securities and Exchange Commiseration (some Japanese camera companies do) or a similar body in your home country. Even then do not invest the kid’s milk money. There are just to many types of risks in not knowing what is going on, not to mention the currency risk, when the Yen drops to your home currency.

    Interesting it has been reported that Woodford never learn’t Japanese, I wonder if that was to discourage the Japanese shareholders from supporting him, so by my advice he should of not been involved in the Company.

    • Interesting opinion. Woodford had surely something of the Samson syndrome.

      At any rate now the enemy is at the gates. Sony and Panny have already claimed to aim at world predoiminance in the camera business.

      While I would love to see a permanent Oly-Fuji alliance I wonder if it could only slow down the juggernauts. Fuji’s X1 Pro is after all a Sony one.

      More to the point, can in the long run m4/3 survive without Oly? From a ph. POV, not an analyst, it strikes me that Fuji has just demonstrated that one can have an APS sensor with *small* lenses.

      If APS shows much more DR and high sensitivity, Panny’s 4/3 might be doomed in the long run.

      • flash

        APS will always have a DR and sensitivity advantage. When the next generation of sensors come out this advantage will still be there but less. and when the generation of sensors comes out after that it will still be there but totally insignificant.

        So when m43 is twice a old as it is now it will be as capable as the current FF or better as far as DR is concern.

        Sony (just who is the president there?) and Panasonic stock is down for the last year 55% and 45% respectively. Olympus is down 58%; not much worst considering the last 6 months. Now the Fuji down 37 % and Nikon only 4.5 and Canon down 17 %. These numbers are based on US dollars, so it is subject to currency fluctuation. All these companies produce much more then cameras.

        Soon dividends will be cancelled or lowered and the stock prices will further decline. It just is going to be very hard for any Japanese consumer firm to do well for the next 2 or 3 years IMHO. I think they all will hang in there even Olympus; giving us better and better product though.

  • if fuji+olympus = fujipus, fulympus, fujios

    if sony+olympus = solympus, sonypus, solym

    if panasonic+olympus = panapus, panalym, papus

    :D lol…

    • Martin

      heh, what about foolympus? :D

    • urintheindustry

      I vote Panoly

    • lnqe-M

      Maybe Epsolympus. :-D

    • flash

      When you mix Olympus Blue with Fuji Yellow you get Solvent Green. :) Which is appropriate as it is a people company

  • P

    This is sad. :(

  • Hmmm….

    This was expected, but bad. The management team at Olympus is incompetent and corrupt, so what we’ll get is business as usual. I expect that this whole farce is a prelude to the dismantling of Olympus, with Medical Imaging going to new “partner”, and the camera division getting shut down. Remember, its always the profitable (or at least less unprofitable) parts of bankrupt companies that get sold off, while the weak divisions remain to go down with the ship.

    Buy those 45/1.8’s and 12/2’s while you can. They’ll be collectors items soon.

    • Liam

      The Olympus management team is not necessarily incompetent, and probably no different from most management teams in Japan using closed-door policies. It’s apparent that Olympus is part of a prevailing business culture in Japan that, for whatever bizarre and self-serving reasons, feels that it has to hide it’s failures/losses/bad decisions from the public and share holders…”for the good of the company”.
      Many of the Olympus managers will, over time, perform a symbolic ritual suicide, apologize to the public and share holders, then quietly move on to another company to continue the same bizarre business practices.
      Woodford didn’t “get it”. Most westerners don’t. He tried to change an entire culture from the outside. He may or may not have had good intentions, but his business-culture revolution was doomed from the start.

  • LGO

    Woodford giving up is a big loss for Olympus.

  • Nic Walmsley

    We say it is “very Japanese” – but really, it is the same in most places around the world. Closed cronyism. It’s not so much old school, as old world. And it doesn’t give me confidence Olympus will really change its practices. Yes, the other big camera makers are in competition with Olympus. But competing to satisfy customers is not really what old world business is about. Woodford was probably not the right guy anyway, but if you care about Olympus’ customers, you’d say the company needs a thorough clean out. Not more help from any form of cartel (a group of agents who should be competing but instead cooperate behind closed doors).

    Oh well, old world business does OK at producing good cameras. I’ll keep enjoying the pen mini, 14mm, 20mm, 45mm. I’ll save for the 25, the 300, the 12. But I wish someone like Apple would make MILC.

  • Mai-san

    Scandalympus, a pity if its over now, all they needed was a better sensor for the e p3 and e5 they went out of breath on the last metres

  • Will

    “The brutal way I was dismissed as President on 14 October, and the subsequent lies and denials, have been traumatising for all those around me, especially my family. It ́s been a frightening period for my wife, who has suffered a lot and every night still wakes screaming in a trance and it takes several minutes to calm her.”

    Translation: he wants to sue someone for emotional distress. What balls. People get fired every day in this economy, and they have no option to get a big paycheck out of it. What a scumbag!

    • yes, to turn change into monumental perestroika and add drama to his end game. Is check mate and he knows it.

  • jonathan

    Forget about sony they don’t need olympus unless they want to kill a CAMERA competitor. camera business is not the only area where sony shines… I mean it won’t happen at all, believe me Sony has already shares in Tamron & Zeiss, plus the minolta Ibis and last but not least TWO camera mount to exploit.

  • GWar

    Shoot, man, at least the Japanese Government didn’t step in BAIL OUT all them idiots like they did in the Good Ol’ USA and help the corporation bosses escape completely unscathed! As Richard Branson said of the practice in the USA of giving corporations a “Chapter 11” bail-out and letting them escape is totally wrong simply because all that the corporations and the bosses get are slaps on the wrists and are given escape routes, instead of letting them crash out and close-up shop like they do in places like the UK, the bosses let out on the street just like any pauper to fend for themselves.
    Woodford should feel lucky that he can continue to slander the Japanese in the way he is, speaking from his high-horse position like he’s doing now.

  • Pile

    New York Bankers lost. LOL.

  • @Thom Hogan
    “Hope no British politicians ever think that’s the way things should work.”

    in today’s news

    look a former British prime minster alleged to be avoiding tax by claim high admin fees telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8999890/Tony-Blair-and-the-8million-tax-mystery.html

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