Deals

Sony said to buy 10 percent of failing camera co. Olympus for $623M

Sony, which is dealing with billions of dollars in losses and its worst fiscal year yet, is considering taking a $623 million stake in flailing camera company Olympus.

The Japanese camera company has been in a dark place ever since it announced it had been hiding losses from investors for nearly two decades. The scandal came to light soon after then-chief executive Michael Woodford was fired after asking questions about curious $1.5 billion dollar payments being made to investment fund advisors. Since then, the company has replaced much of its executive staff and plans to cut 2,700 jobs.

To keep its head above water, Olympus offered a 10 percent stake in the company, which Sony now appears to be snapping up. Reuters reports, however, that the deal is not finalized, and Olympus has nothing to announce yet, according to Olympus spokesperson Tsuyoshi Oshima.

Sony, however, hasn’t been in its best form either. The company sustained a $5.7 billion loss for 2011, completing its worst year to date. It blamed its struggling television department and natural disasters near some of its plants among other issues.

In an effort to jump-start its own business, however, the company announced yesterday that it will invest $997 million dollars into developing CMOS sensors, camera sensors that are thin and doesn’t take up valuable space within the camera. As VentureBeat contributor Ricardo Bilton pointed out, that investment is nearly half of Sony’s projected revenue for 2012 — a big risk.

via Reuters; Broken camera image via Shutterstock