Lytro has announced that it just raised $50 million to undergo a “strategic shift” in strategy. Instead of focusing on light field photography and refocusable 3D photos, the company plans to expand into the fields of video and virtual reality. A large number of jobs will be shed during this process.
Here’s some news that flew under our radar late last year: in December 2014, a family in Minnesota became the majority owner of Polaroid through a $70 million deal.
Known most for their film emulation presets, mobile app, and creative network, Visual Supply Co. has taken the photography world by storm since their inception in March of 2011. Releasing VSCO Film, VSCO Keys, VSCO Cam, VSCO Grid, and their VSCO Journal, they’ve shown that they aren’t only a company looking to sell products – they’re a company striving to build an entire community by creating and establishing effective resources for photographers.
And as of today, there’s proof in the form of dollars that others believe in their endeavors. $40 million dollars worth of belief to be precise.
The use of social media has become vital for the news-reporting agencies and outlets of the world. Mix that in with the ubiquity of mobile phones, and it means there are cameras virtually everywhere, and organizations like the Associated Press know this. Read more…
Lytro is seeing more and more competition these days, as more and more companies are jumping into the “snap now, focus later” game. There are now apps that mimic the technology, and companies like Toshiba are working on building Lytro-style smartphone camera modules.
Lytro’s latest challenger may be quite a formidable foe: it appears that Nokia has invested in Pelican Imaging, another startup that’s working on building Lytro-style smartphone camera arrays.
‘Tis the season of mergers, acquisitions, and investments. At around the same time Adobe announced its acquisition of Behance yesterday, Taiwanese gadget manufacturer Foxconn (officially known as Hon Hai Precision) announced that it has snatched up 8.88% of GoPro for $200 million. The deal values the California-based action-camera maker at a whopping $2.25 billion.
People say money can’t buy happiness. Turns out there’s another thing it can’t buy: photo sharers. Despite raising a staggering $41 million in funding before even launching, the photo sharing app Color has been struggling to find users. Even after major pivots that changed the service’s DNA, the app only has less than half a million active users.
There was a good deal of buzz in the tech world today after Ricardo Bilton of VentureBeat reported that the app has been slated for closure.
Sony has agreed to pour $645 million into Olympus in exchange for 11.5 percent of the embattled company, becoming the single largest shareholder. While the companies announced that they are considering cooperating in the digital camera industry, the main motivation for Sony wasn’t photographic imaging but body imaging. Olympus is one of the major players in the medical endoscope market, holding about 70% of sales, and Sony’s investment allows it to dip its toes into this lucrative industry.
Bankruptcy has not been friendly to Kodak. The once-important camera company — now a printing company — is worth less than 20 cents a share today, a completely different picture than its glory days in the mid-1990s, when the price briefly surged beyond $90. Now that the share price is so low, would it be wise to invest in the company in hopes that it emerges from bankruptcy protection? Matt Krantz over at USA Today says no, and writes,
Some investors figure that companies that were as large and powerful as Eastman Kodak can’t just vanish. And because of that, they think that when they see the shares trading for just 22 cents that they can’t miss. But investors who assume this are missing a few key points that wind up resulting in huge losses and disappointment.
When companies undergo bankruptcy restructuring, common stockholders are last in line for what’s left of the remaining company. It’s pretty common for the common shares to be delisted from a stock exchange and ultimately be moved to a lightly regulated marketplace. That’s what’s happened with Kodak shares. Some shareholders find getting out of these positions can be costly or troublesome.
He says that while it’s possible that Kodak will succeed in its plans of emerging from bankruptcy next year, it’s unlikely that anyone still holding on to shares in the company will see their wallets getting fatter.
Ask Matt: Are Eastman Kodak shares a bankrupt bargain? [USA Today]
Image credit: Illustration based on Kodak Building in Rochester, NY by Viktor Nagornyy
As Olympus attempts to regain its footing after the devastating financial scandal that rocked it this past year, rumors are swirling that Sony might play knight in shining armor in the saga by swooping in with financial assistance. Reuters reports that a cash for stake agreement might happen before the end of this month:
Sony Corp is in the final stages of talks to invest 50 billion yen ($646 million) in cash-strapped Olympus Corp, with an agreement expected by the end of September, state broadcaster NHK reported.
Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters that Olympus is in talks with Sony to accept a cash injection in return for a stake.
Olympus is staying mum about these rumors. Murmurings of this potential deal first emerged back in June, when we reported that it would be worth more than 10% of Olympus. Other companies that were rumored to be interested in similar deals included Fujifilm and medical device maker Terumo.
Update: As part of the impending deal, Sony and Olympus will reportedly cooperate in promoting and developing digital camera gear. Interesting…
Image credit: Trying some new stuff by joshduffyphoto