Olympus, Sony might seal tieup by end of month


Olympus Corp. and Sony Corp. are in the final stages of talks on a business and capital tieup that could be concluded by the end of the month, sources said Saturday.

The accord is expected to include a ¥50 billion capital injection by Sony into the scandal-hit maker of medical imaging devices and digital cameras, they said.

The companies may also set up a joint venture to develop medical devices by combining Olympus’ endoscope technology with Sony’s expertise in image sensors, the sources said. Olympus plans to cut costs from its loss-making digital camera business by cooperating with Sony in materials procurement and product development, the sources added.

Sony stands to benefit by strengthening its medical appliance business, which could prove to be a potential new growth engine as its struggles to turn around its loss-making television business. Olympus controls over 70 percent of the global digestive endoscope market.

Olympus has been struggling to reinforce its finances and corporate governance credibility after its capital ratio plunged to as low as 2.2 percent in June in the wake of an embarrassing bubble-era accounting scandal that only broke when its first foreign president battled the board of directors to expose it. He was summarily fired.

Tieup proposals from Fujifilm Holdings Corp. and Terumo Corp. were rejected because their offers included merger plans and Olympus is eager to stay independent.