Well it’s happening. The sale of Olympus’ camera business is moving forward, on schedule, as of this morning. If you remember, back in June 2020, Olympus signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Japan Industrial partners (JIP) to sell their camera division to JIP, with the finalization expected to come in September.
It’s here. What was referred to as the “New Company” in the June memorandum is now officially OM Digital Solutions Corporation. As of now the new company owns the entirety of Olympus’ imaging business. In January 2021 Olympus will transfer 95% of the stock, leaving them 5% ownership. Seemingly the very same structure that JIP made with Sony for their VAIO computers. Presumably 5% retention will allow JIP to use some of the trademarked names so the cameras can still be Olympus branded.
Accordingly there have been statements that customer service and repair will continue uninterrupted and JIP will continue R&D including fulfilling the current Olympus lens roadmap.
So far, all good news for Olympus users and MFT in general as recently Panasonic reaffirmed it’s commitment to Micro 4/3 with it’s Lumix branding despite its recent entry into the full frame space with the S series of cameras and “L Mount Alliance” with Leica and Sigma.
JIP will continue production in the Viet Nam facility also, seemingly without interruption.
The only thing to wonder about at, this point, is, what will be the future availability of Olympus cameras globally? If they follow the Sony VAIO model, they will concentrate on Asia, and to a lesser extent South America. Asia is definitely Olympus’ strongest market so, I see a real possibility of this happening, especially with the current need in the west to criticize MFT due to the sensor size, and the shrinking camera market and industry issues in general.
It’s not over yet, but if you are an Olympus shooter you can probably breath a temporary sigh of relief. As of right now, this venerable brand has a chance of continuing. At least in the short term.
Stay safe and see the world your own way.
Thanks for reading.