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
Photo agency Getty Images is on the auction block, in a second round of bids that are climbing towards $4 billion for a potential sale. Investment firm KKR & Co. and private equity investment firm TPG are on the list of at least five interested bidders, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ever since their financial scandal, Olympus has been looking to bring on a big name investor to help get them out of trouble. Earlier this month that investor seemed to be Panasonic, but when that fell through everybody looked to the remaining three possible investors — Sony, Fujifilm and Terumo — to see if anybody was going to make the leap. According to Japanese business daily Nikkei, that investor is Sony. Read more…
Due in large part to the massive accounting scandal that Olympus found itself in at the end of last year, the company hasn’t been doing that great financially. And now, according to Reuters, Panasonic is preparing to jump to Olympus’ aid by providing approximately 50 billion yen (635 million dollars) in capital. The move will benefit both parties, as Panasonic, who are struggling with sub-par TV sales, will become top shareholder in the company and hopefully add a new stream of revenue to their portfolio.
Even though, at this point, nothing has been confirmed by either company, Olympus has already reaped benefits from the rumored deal. According to Bloomberg, once the news broke, Olympus’ stock rose as much as 3.5 percent and began trading at the highest value the company has seen since March 30th.
(via Photo Rumors via Reuters)
Instagram is set to raise a massive Series B round of venture financing and, according to AllThingsD, the round will be led by preeminent VC firm Sequoia Capital — the same firm that funded the likes of Apple, Google, YouTube, PayPal, Oracle, and Yahoo!. The company will reportedly be raising $50 million on a $500 million valuation, which is a hefty price point for a 17-month-old company with a headcount of 13. The service boasted 30 million iPhone users prior to its Android launch earlier this week, after which they received 1 million new signups in less than 24 hours. Now all it need to do is figure out a way to turn its popularity into dollar bills…
Image credit: Instagram founders @Kevin @mikeyk by Robert Scoble