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
Crippled by its recent financial scandal, Olympus is in need of a bailout and has been open to the idea of forming a strategic alliance with other companies. The latest news is that Sony is on the brink of acquiring a 20-30% stake in the beleaguered medical device and camera company, a sizable increase from the 0.03% it currently owns. The alliance would combine Sony’s expertise in making camera sensors with Olympus’ expertise in medical devices. Fujifilm has also been named as a company that’s interested in investing in Olympus, but Sony seems to currently be the clear front-runner.
(via Nikkei via 43 Rumors)
Image credit: EOS Bridge for NEX-5/NEX-3 by 246-You
Reuters is reporting that US-based investment firm TPG Capital has expressed interest in pouring $1 billion into Olympus in a joint deal, and has notified other possible suitors including Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic.
Nearly all of Olympus’ profits are generated from its dominant 70 percent share of the global market for flexible diagnostic endoscopes. The steady cash flow from that business has allowed it to prop up its digital camera business, which is on course to lose money for a second straight year.
TPG would consider taking over the other less desirable parts of the firm to facilitate a deal. This could include the digital camera operation, which is in need of a major overhaul, including job cuts, the person said.
It’s interesting that the camera division is one of the “less desirable parts” of Olympus, since that’s what most consumers know the company for.
TPG willing to invest $1 billion in Olympus [Reuters]
Image credit: OLYMPUS E-P1 by DORONKO
The mobile photo sharing space is hot right now, with services like Instagram, Picplz, and Path growing like weeds. A new contender called Color is causing some buzz after successfully raising a whopping $41 million… before even launching. The company has seven notable founders who have either started successful companies in the past (e.g. Lala and BillShrink) or have held executive positions at them (LinkedIn). Among the investors is Sequoia Capital, one of the most influential and successful firms in Silicon Valley and the firm that funded Google. They gave Color more than they gave Google.
Real time photo sharing service TweetPhoto has raised a $2.6 million Series A investment from a group of investors led by Canaan Partners.
The San Diego-based startup is one of the closest competitors of TwitPic, the most popular photo sharing service for Twitter. As long as Twitter doesn’t compete in this space with 3rd party sites by starting its own service or acquiring one of the services, the future looks bright for TweetPhoto. Last year, TwitPic raked in $1.5 million in revenue and turned down an offer “much higher than $10“.
Although TweetPhoto still lags behind TwitPic in terms of traffic, TweetPhoto is attempting to ensure its growth and survival by spreading its eggs across multiple baskets. Unlike TwitPic, TweetPhoto has expanded to support other social networks including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.
GigaOM also reports that the company is thinking about changing its name, and will likely do so at some point in the future.
Real time photo sharing is just getting started and, if the investors are correct, we should be seeing much more growth and innovation in this space in the near future.