Ricoh To Purchase Pentax From Hoya

By Greg Tarr On Jul 18 2011 - 4:01am

GOLDEN, COLO. — Ricoh and Pentax set off some pre- July 4 fireworks in the digital imaging marketplace when the companies announced that Ricoh will acquire Hoya Corp.’s Pentax brand in a move to strengthen its position in digital-SLR cameras and other consumer imaging products.

Ricoh, which like Pentax is Japanese based, said it plans to begin using the Pentax brand on its own camera products upon completion of the deal.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it is expected to be completed Oct. 1. The Nikkei Business Daily estimated the transaction at $124 million.

A spokesman for Pentax’ U.S. sales operations here said the company is prevented from discussing the deal until it is completed.

Ricoh has long offered point-and-shoot and SLR cameras but has struggled to get much market share traction out of the Ricoh brand in the U.S. and other consumer camera markets around the world.

In recent years, it has placed greater emphasis on its position in copiers, printers and other office equipment areas, but now sees the borderline between office and home fading, bringing new opportunities for new products and services.

Adding the Pentax name is expected to help Ricoh build its consumer presence while giving it an instant stepping stone into the growing d-SLR and compact mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera businesses.

In a statement, Ricoh acknowledged the digital camera market presents “intensified” competition but still holds “tremendous potential” for new products.

Ricoh said that it plans to use Pentax to enhance its digital camera businesses (especially the interchangeable- lens camera market which is expected to grow), create value-added businesses for photographs and expand to other fields.

Ricoh is also looking to bolster its offerings in video conferencing systems, network appliances, and home security and surveillance where Pentax also has key assets.

Hoya said that under the deal, it will retain use of the Pentax name for its businesses for digital camera modules, DVD pick-up lenses, endoscopes, synthetic bone and voice-synthesis software.

On Oct. 1, 2011, the current Pentax Imaging system business will be succeeded by a newly established company, and then Ricoh will acquire 100 percent of its stock right after the establishment.

Toshiaki Iue, Pentax Imaging Systems Division president, said no operational changes of the Pentax Imaging System Business are anticipated for the time being by making this agreement.

“All employees will be transferred to the new company accordingly. Also, all current products will continue to be sold with the Pentax brand name under current operations,” he said in a letter to Pentax customers.

“Pentax, under the guidance of Ricoh, will continue with our best effort to grow and evolve our business and partnerships and deliver quality products and services designed for a high level of customer satisfaction,” Iue said.

Hoya bought Pentax in 2007 primarily to gain access to its medical technology, and long had been expected by industry observers to sell off the camera business.

Pentax is the world’s tenth largest digital camera brand by shipments, with 1.5 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC.

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