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No source heard anything official about a possible Panasonic-Olympus acquisition plan.


Two days ago we posted a rumor with low credibility (FT2) that Panasonic could buy the Olympus Imaging division. External websites + some new (and completely unknown sources) told me Panasonic and Olympus are talking about that since a couple of months.

Meanwhile I asked some of my very good sources if they heard anything about that. All do say that they don’t know anything about a possible sale of the camera division to Panasonic. There is absolutely no word about that going around at Olympus. This doesn’t mean that this would not be possible as such an acquisition would only be dealt by the very top Japanese managers from Panasonic and Olympus. So only time will tell if the rumor is true or not.

As I said earlier, I hope it is a wrong rumor as I think the whole Micro Four Thirds system would lose some of their “appealing”. What do you think?

If Pana would buy Oly: Would the m43 system lose or gain something?

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  • Robbie

    Dear Admin:
    Though it’s understandable, I think it should be “lose” a lot.

    • admin

      I just learned the difference between “loose” and “lose” :)

  • observer

    I think panasonic have a very good roadmap with m43 but not Oly.

    From the onset, 43 and m43 format is about stills and video hybrid in one compact camera. And this is the future.

    Those who go for 43 only for the stills is missing the point.

    Any merger in the short term will be bad for consumers as that will limit their options but in the longer term a stronger panasonic in the 43 may mean the best of 2 flavours Oly and Lumix in one strong product category.

    Competition will always be there, whether there is an Oly or not. Brands come and go no need to be so sentimental. Sure it can be a good thing.

  • Thanks for the feedback.

    I was very skeptical because mergers or hostile takeovers are very secret things that leak only at the very last moment.

    Some even imagined that the rumour was planted by Sony to damage m4/3. One should indeed consider that Olympus is N.1 for mirrorless in Japan by BCN rankings. Surely that is not a thing that Sony takes gladly after all the effort.

    Alleged financial news must always be double checked, because they can damage companies, much more than any competitive product.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of lamers, like the one above, ready to spread mischief, and amplify unwarranted rumours. One should really stop posing as CEO of companies involving thousands of the most qualified manpower. One should have a little more respect for their work and effort.

    • mahler

      I disagree. The real problem for Olympus are the bad financial results of the imaging division. This is the prime reason, somebody could worry if it is worth to invest in Olympus products. The rumors of a possible merger with Panasonic, which is probably not a hostile takeover, could rather help customers to be assured that the future of Olympus imaging is taken care for, and that it will not be a total loss, like Rollei or Contax.

      That Panasonic might be overtaking is certainly not the best of all scenarios. The best would be the indepency of Olympus. However, if that is not gonna happen, the Panasonic takeover is by far the best for the m4/3 system, because Panasonic has viable interest for this system to survive.

      These rumors aren’t the important problems for Olympus. Olympus should get its act together and avoid misleading public statements (about the future of their product lines for example), make better product lines (their PEN-only m4/3 strategy isn’t diverse enough, the models are too similar and inconsequently positioned, for what they deliver too expensive -> EP-3), and get rid of the troublemakers.

      As soon the imaging division can report good numbers, the confidence will return and a takeover could be less likely.

  • Miroslav

    I must admit that the previous FT2 rumor really saddened and disappointed me. I hope this will put an end to these stories. Maybe before June Olympus was looking bad, but after those multiple announcements, one cannot say it’s a company in trouble. They’ve even shown some new compacts in July. Look at Pentax 2011 announcements, before Ricoh took over – five models, two basically the same, four P&S with the same sensor and Q nobody sees sense in.

    On the other hand, Olympus should be looking for a way out of budget and premium compacts, which will be swallowed by mobile phones and ILCs soon. Keep the rugged and ultra/travel zoom P&S lines, they’ll survive a bit more. But if they decide to sell the complete P&S division, it won’t be pity at all. But m4/3 department looks healthy and profitable at the moment.

    • mahler

      Hmm, the Olympus announcement aren’t really better. Three models, two of them about the same. One high quality lens, and one other, which should have had the same standard as the former (build-wise), but it is again a cheaper plastic lens.

  • LOL, call the devil and he appears, like they say in my country.

    Another wannabe CEO of Olympus, offering unneeded ‘friendly’ advice.


  • Bard

    Any rumors about the Pansonic GF PRO ??

  • We will loose :) More different companies = healthier business :)

    • I wonder if people know that in ecosystems biological diversity is essential. Reductionism is an illness of the mind.

      More so considering that Olympus is a century old, and so is a living repository of photographic competence. No wonder it has the best JPEG and colours of the industry.

      But it’s not only a matter of history, it’s a company which invests 20% (if I am not mistaken) in R&D, therefore it’s the equivalent of a Science Park, and a living library of photography.

      One has only to remember what happened to Minolta when swallowed by Sony. People still mourn it.

      • mahler

        Oh shiny Olympus.

        Many traditional companies never realize the trends of modern technology, and get therefore in trouble (Leica, Minolta, almost Pentax, and Olympus?).

        Olympus has no more photographic competence than Panasonic or even Sony, these times have past. Evidence: current product lines.

        On the DSLR market, one can only be happy that Sony took over Minolta. The latter was about to miss the digital age, and Sony came to rescue, releasing such goodies like the A850 and A900. Sony brought Zeiss into the game, not a bad move for the photographic community.

        The people moaning about the rise of the electronic giants and the fall of the traditionally, so called photographic companies, are fanboys, which are unwilling to grasp that the photography market has changed and that their beloved companies are in trouble without adaption or merging. As an alternative, a traditional vendor can be happy to stay in a market niche (as Leica), but then they have to streamline their business, and get rid of the loss makers.

  • Alexander

    They already almost as one! Look at their strategie. It is like a (marketing) puzzle (stabilisation, camera effects & I guess even the new lenses from Pana are made by Oly. On the other hand Oly has the sensors from Pana). Does it make sense?…
    Finally they will concentrate on the productline that will sell more. At moment it is probably Panasonic.

  • Narretz

    Thx for asking admin.
    Any suprise announcement possible from Olympus or Pana at the IFA?

  • Andy

    Don’t see how we could lose out by this. Olympus’ photographic heritage is not going to magically disappear if they are taken over.

    Olympus would get the financial backing of panasonic and also their latest image sensors. Both companies would share their technologies which would be better for both oly and pana.

    • Andy

      I would be disappointed if they got rid of the Olympus name though.

      I wish Sony had kept the Minolta name for their cameras too. No one like the jack-of-all-trades branding of panasonic/sony on their cameras.

      • ijack

        Imagine one day you would have only one brand for all products.

        “Mobile Phone” Branded Mobile Phone

        “Digital Camera” Branded DSLRS and Compacts

        worse still

        “Electrical Appliances” Brand of everything.

  • Oliver

    I think the rumor is bullshit – spread by some bored people trying to cause some confusion.

  • MichaelKJ

    While I appreciate the update, I also think it confirms my belief that this site shouldn’t have put this out as an FT2 rumor in the first place.

    • Chris

      I agree.

      If there was something substantial behind it then posting it would have been fair enough, but it’s too easy for that rumour to have been started and spread by competitors or simply those who dislike the format, and too difficult for the rumour to be convincingly denied.

      I come here for exciting techy prospects with some solid evidence behind them, not to be saddened by reports about the mortality of historic companies when there is no solid evidence behind them.

  • Bob B.

    ummm…can President Obama have congress stop the merger???? :-)

  • st3v4nt

    Carry on Olympus it’s Fuji that we worry about….:-)

  • gelo

    It is speculated that the rumor started from someone from Samsung and the information was leaked from Olympus Korea, whoes CEO (Mr. Bang) is former Samsung employee. It was also discussed that Samsung’s intention was to ruin the recent Olympus announcement to keep buyers from buying Oly’s new products in fear of the merger. I personally think the rumor has some credibility. Samsung tried to acquire Pentax whrere Hoya wanted 200 million but Samsung did not like it. Asian Ecomomics picked Casio and Olympus as most probable for M&A. Olympus lost 150 million last season in its Imaging division.

    • mahler

      It is better to get rid of paranoia.

  • flash

    I do not think the rumor is true. It would be very bad for all if it was. In the last 50 years Olympus had consistently been one of the most innovative imaging companies. This covers more then form factor. This all would be lost if there was a merger to Panasonic.

    There is also no need for Panasonic to buy Olympus imaging now. They have the ability to manufacturer all the cameras they want have good lens development. They have a good distribution in most parts of the world. They have good name recognition. They are also not cash flush at the moment.

    The Elephant in the room is the camera phone that has eaten up most of the compact camera market. Olympus and others seems to have now weathered most of that storm; and has turned a profit last quarter. Also
    if Olympus imaging was to be bought it would be from a firm like Apple or Google, with the the desire to expand in a new consumer market, gain patents and lens knowledge.

    • +1

      Pity that Oly haters think they can always teach the errors in our ways.

      What is funny is that people who like Oly cameras just ignore Panny ones, and wouldn’t touch their management with a bargepole.

      But Panny henchmen always have good ideas for running half a dozen factories of a different brand :)

      They are wasted as photographers, they should be generals :)

  • Pixnat

    Cool! thanks for the feedback :-)

  • “… Without Olympus we lose a lot!”
    That is not sentimental brand nostalgia!
    Olympus is one of the most innovative corporations and guarantees a very high technical quality level. You have just to take a look at the Olympus innovations in photography in the last fifty years.
    They often introduced industry leading technologies which their competitors copied.
    And Olympus has very skilled engineers and optical specialists. In Japan they are loyal to their company above the ordinary.
    You will find only a fractional amount of their knowledge and experience in patents, technical descriptions, handbooks… They most important knowledge is in their brains.
    And it keeps only alive under competitive and motivating circumstances – not in “mergers serfdom”.

  • Olyfans

    Sony should buy olympus… If they do then they will be unbeatable, Sony produces one of the best sensor in the game yet they are hindered by crappy JPEG engine(a55 lose to pentax k5 and D7000 even though it is the same sensor) ,slower contrast detect AF for ILC, crappy lens, the olympus 12mm is simply a marvel (maybe zeiss lenses aren’t but they are expensive). On the other side olympus cameras are hindered by the smaller (thus inferior at times to APS-C or FF sensor) Like it or not it is the truth.. If they do join forces it will be massive, with the capital and investment that Sony coupled with the knowledge of image processing from Olympus… Their cameras will be a hit.. Canon and Nikon wouldn’t even compare.. LOL

  • ILO

    Why Panasonic does not buy Leica? It would be most logical choice. Or they already did?

  • BS Artiste

    I like Oly engineering quality over Panasonic for cameras. However, I prefer the GH/G form factor over the compact flat design in the GF and Pen lines.

    As Panasonic has already completely killed 4/3 products once, such a takeover couldn’t be good for Oly 4/3 users. Still Panasonic’s GH/G lines come closer to my E-30 than the Pens.

    As to the veracity of any rumors, I would not count on a company’s product testers, product line managers, marketers, and sales reps to know too much about M&A activities of their companies. Those decisions are made in the board rooms, finance departments, and legal departments of companies. For legal and strategic reasons, M&A negotiations are kept confidential from the rest of the employees in a company. I am a patent and corporate attorney for a telecomm equipment maker, and those types of company/division/asset valuations and contract negotiations are always held tight to the vest even moreso than new product releases and prototypes.

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