Olympus has announced plans to get out of the camera business by selling its image division to an investment fund.
Japan Industrial Partners, the company that bought the VAIO computer business from Sony, will understand that a memorandum will see Olympus transfer the shares and all its shares.
Image division is a small part of Olympus ’business, which is now largely focused on supplying medical equipment such as endoscopes.
CEO Yasuo Takeuchi reported last year that the division of the camera did not exceed sales limits, although the company later stated.
JIP will continue to use the Olympus Brand
Olympus said it has “put in place measures to address the very serious digital camera market, including the shrinking market caused by the evolution of smartphones,” but concluded that the efforts are not enough.
As with VAIO, JIP aims to streamline the business and continue to develop products like OM-D and Zuiko from the Olympus brand.
Olympus ’image division over the past decade has centered around a mirrorless camera in Micro Four Thirds format and has lost money over the past three years. The Pen series, a film based on the classic half-frame film, sparked a wave of retro digital cameras without mirrors with the 2009 E-P1, and Olympus released several cameras it picked up during 2010.
Olympus and JIP are expected to sign a final agreement in late September, with the deal expected to close later this year. The terms of the purchase have not yet been made public.