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Sony To Acquire Olympus Stake

Tokyo – Sony revealed through government filings here that it will invest 50 billion yen ($645 million) in embattled Olympus as it looks to use the firm’s optical technologies to beef up its expanding medical-equipment business.

According to reports citing recent Japanese Ministry filings Friday, the two companies will form a joint venture to make endoscopes and other medical devices.

Olympus is the world’s largest endoscope maker with a 70 percent market share.

The investment will provide much needed funding to Olympus, which is still reeling from the discovery that top executives had engaged in accounting fraud over a 13-year period. A new board and executives have since been appointed.

Sony will buy an 11.46 percent stake in Olympus and become its largest shareholder in two parts of the deal.

In the first, which is to be completed by Oct. 23, Sony will purchase 13.1 million shares for 19 billion yen. In the second, which is to be completed by Feb. 28, 2013, Sony will buy 21.3 million shares for 31 billion yen.

The acquisition will be split due to antitrust regulations.

By the end of 2012, the companies are to establish a joint venture to manufacture and sell endoscopes, with Sony holding a 51 percent share and Olympus holding 49 percent.

Sony will also place a director on Olympus’s board.

The purchase is expected to help Sony meet its previously stated goal of generating 50 billion yen in annual sales from printers, monitors, cameras and recorders for the medical industry in the year ending March 2015.