The company that owns OM System now also owns Toshiba after $14bn deal

Aug 14, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The company that owns OM System now also owns Toshiba after $14bn deal

Aug 14, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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This is an interesting one. Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), the private equity company which saved Olympus’ camera division, is buying out Toshiba for $14 billion. Toshiba has been struggling since 2015, and JIP wants to turn that around.

While Sony is the top dog these days when it comes to camera sensors, Toshiba has been known to make camera sensors in the past. 2013’s Nikon D5200, for example, contains one. So the deal potentially brings a lot of new tech to OM System.

According to The Stack, the offer was made in March in an attempt to bail out Toshiba. They say that Toshiba initially declined the offer, but the company amended its response after reexamining the reality of running such a business today.

What happened to Toshiba?

Despite being around since 1875, Toshiba hasn’t been in great shape for a while. In 2015, news broke that Toshiba was facing an accounting scandal. The company was accused of overstating operating profits by around $1.2 billion, forcing its CEO, Hisao Tanaka to resign.

Toshiba reported a $3.4 billion loss in 2017, which ultimately caused the bankruptcy of American power company, Westinghouse Electric Company. Later that year, Toshiba sold its memory chip business to a group which included companies such as Apple, Dell Technologies, Hoya Corporation, Kingston Technology, Seagate Technology and SK Hynix. This new company was originally called Toshiba Memory Corporation and was later renamed Kioxia.

In 2018, they sold 80.1% of its “Client Solutions” (PCs, basically) to Sharp for $36 million. I actually remember having a Toshiba Satellite laptop back in the 90s. Sharp bought the remaining 19.9% stock in June 2020, making the company wholly owned by Sharp in August 2020. These days, the “Dynabook” range is no longer made by Toshiba.

Toshiba calls it quits

All of this appears to be as a consequence of the 2015 scandal that the company has continued to fail to recover from. Satoshi Tsunakawa, who was brought in as CEO after Hisao Tanaka resigned also resigned amidst the ongoing scandal in 2022.

Now, it looks like Toshiba is calling it quits and selling up. JIP has disclosed that they plan to take Toshiba from being a publicly traded company into a privately owned company. Their hope is that they can turn the Toshiba brand around, as they have done with so many others in the past.

JIP wants Toshiba to re-establish itself as an industry leader, bringing it back to profitability and once again becoming one of Japan’s top brands. JIP is paying $32 per share for Toshiba, totalling up to $14 billion.

Over the past 20 years since JIP’s founding, JIP has engaged in the revitalization of 20 or more large companies.

JIP press statement

The deal is expected to be finalised towards the end of the year. It still needs to go through a little red tape and investors will have until September 20th to approve the deal.

What’s next for Toshiba? (or OM System?)

With all of the sell-offs by Toshiba over the last decade or two, it will be interesting to see how much of the company is left and what JIP can do with it to help turn it around.

Even more curious is the technology Toshiba may still own that’s relevant to photography or video. It could potentially bring OM System, which is also owned by JIP, some great technological benefits for the advancement of the company’s camera system in future years.

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched an idea for JIP to let Toshiba share its tech with OM System. After all every time Vitec Videndum acquires a new company, that company’s technology seems to be strategically entwined with other brands they own alongside its own products.

Whether or not JIP can turn Toshiba around or if OM System will see any technology from the acquisition remains to be seen – assuming the deal ultimately goes ahead.

[via The Stack]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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