UPDATE: Olympus has released an FAQ regarding the transfer of the imaging business.

Overnight, Olympus announced it has concluded a definitive agreement with Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) regarding the transfer of the Olympus imaging business. Under the agreement, a newly-established wholly-owned subsidiary will be created through an absorption-type split. This will be followed by transferring 95% of the shares of the new company to OJ Holdings, Ltd., a special purpose company established by JIP, on January 1, 2021.

The announcement comes after Olympus first revealed its plans to sell the imaging business in June 2020, noting that the market has “shrunk rapidly due to the evolution of smartphones.” The imaging business has recorded three consecutive years of operating losses up to March 2020.

Plans under JIP

Under this agreement, the new imaging company will be called OM Digital Solutions Corporation, referencing the “OM” line of cameras that Olympus has become known for. The company will be located in Hachioji, Tokyo. Olympus will retain a 5% stake in the new company.

The agreement applies to operations involving the manufacture and sale of digital cameras, interchangeable lenses, IC recorders and other audio products.

In a statement, Olympus President and CEO Yasuo Takeuchi thanked the company’s customers over the years.

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our customers for their patronage and support of Olympus products, and for their passion devoted to photography. I have the utmost confidence that this transfer is the correct step forward in sustaining the value of our products and services,” said Takeuchi. “At the same time, I am certain that this opportunity is the best choice for our long-time patrons, new customers and photography enthusiasts. Under the new company, the development, manufacturing, sales and service functions will continue tight collaboration to introduce new products that will satisfy customers.”

Head of sales and marketing, R&D and designing departments will be relocated to the company’s new headquarters, while production will continue at Olympus’ current plant located in Vietnam. The new OM Digital Solutions Corporation will continue to provide support for the imaging products that have been manufactured and sold by Olympus.