Nikon Bought RED for Just $85M

Nikon acquires RED

Earlier this year, Nikon revealed the bombshell that it had acquired US-based cinema company RED Cinema, thrusting itself into the video space that it had for so long been on the outside of, looking in. Now, based on its 2023-2024 financials, it has revealed just how much that cost: 13.167 billion yen, or $85 million.

Speaking to PetaPixel earlier this year, Nikon revealed that it began the process of evaluating acquiring RED after the cinema company filed a lawsuit against it, alleging that its compressed RAW feature in the Z9 infringed on its patents. During that legal dispute, which Nikon vowed to fight, the company realized it might be more efficient to just purchase RED rather than pay the licensing fees and associated damages that the cinema company was seeking.

“Due to the lawsuit, we had an opportunity to understand and learn more about RED itself and RED’s history, and we had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Jim. We also recognized that the professional digital cinema market is huge and covers many areas, and since the Z 8 and Z 9 launches we see a growing market in the creator area, ” Hiroyuki Ikegami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Imaging Business Unit at Nikon told PetaPixel in April.

“But since we don’t have knowledge about the top-end pro user base, we thought it would take a long time to expand into this market. The lawsuits let us understand about RED and [we] realize that we are actually able to help each other and complement each other. We had the opportunity to speak with Jim [Jannard] and realize we share the same passion and goals.”

Nikon did not say how much the acquisition cost when it announced it, but given that Nikon is publicly traded in Japan, it would have to reveal that at some point. That has happened, and in its 2023-2024 financial filing, Nikon revealed that it acquired 100% of the company for ¥13,167,000,000, or about $85 million.

RED with Canon RF

In a note to shareholders, Nikon listed the following as its primary reasons for the acquisition, much of which is in line with what it told PetaPixel earlier this year:

Since its establishment in 2005, RED has been at the forefront of digital cinema cameras, introducing industry- defining products such as the original RED ONE 4K to the cutting-edge V-RAPTOR [X] with its proprietary RAW compression technology. RED’s contributions to the film industry have not only earned it an Academy Award but have also made it the camera of choice for numerous Hollywood productions, celebrated by directors and cinematographers worldwide for its commitment to innovation and image quality optimized for the highest levels of filmmaking and video production.

This agreement will merge the strengths of both companies. The Company’s expertise in product development, exceptional reliability, and know-how in image processing, as well as optical technology and user interface along with RED’s knowledge in cinema cameras, including unique image compression technology and color science, will enable the development of distinctive products in the professional digital cinema camera market.

The Company and RED will merge the strengths of both companies to expand the fast-growing professional digital cinema camera market while leveraging the business foundations and networks of both companies

Nikon has hinted that it intends to not only make its own cinema lenses but will also look into adding the Z-mount to RED cameras in the future. For now, though, don’t expect much to change: the company has no intention of removing Canon RF-mount support — and Canon seems content with that.

Author’s Note: Thanks to Frank for the tip!