Sony set to invest $642M in Olympus

The Japanese electronics firm is reportedly set to make its investment by this week, which will make it the largest shareholder with a 10 percent stake.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Sony Corporation is reportedly set to invest 50 billion yen (US$642 million) in scandal-ridden Olympus by this week, becoming its biggest shareholder with a 10 percent stake.

In a Reuters report Tuesday, three unidentified sources familiar with the plan said as part of the deal, Sony will set up a joint business with Olympus to develop new medical equipment, and send an executive to join its board of directors.

As it draws back from its loss-making television business, Sony is turning to new businesses, including medical equipment, to increase its revenue.

The report added Olympus could prefer a capital injection from Sony, as opposed to offers from closer business rivals such as camera maker Fujifilm and medical device maker Terumo.

Meanwhile, three former Olympus executives pled guilty to charges related to last year's accounting scandal, according to a separate report by Reuters.

At a Tokyo district court, ex-chairman of Olympus, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, said: "The full responsibility lies with me and I feel deeply sorry for causing trouble to our business partners, shareholders and the wider public. I take full responsibility for what happened."

The other two charged were former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada.

The news comes nearly a year since Olympics got embroiled in one of Japan's largest corporate scandals involving accounting fraud. It started last October when former CEO Michael Woodford publicly questioned the company's accounting irregularities, days after the board fired him. Olympus later confessed to have covered up massive investment losses since the 1990s, and saw Kikukawa, Mori and Yamada quitting their posts.

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