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Olympus executive dismissed amidst loss revelations

By dpreview staff on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:12 GMT

Olympus has dismissed its executive vice president after admitting concealing losses on investments. In the most serious revelation since the departure of former chief executive Michael Woodford, the company said that funds from previous acquisitions had been used to hide losses on securities investments since the 1990s. The news saw Olympus shares fall in value by up to 30% during Tuesday's trading.

Comments

Total comments: 98
OlyAmber
By OlyAmber (Nov 18, 2011)

You know when the rot set in? It was the ugly and unconventional E-300 that started the stone rolling ... reviewers complained their fingers got 'Between the Buttons'.

The delay in bringing the E3 to market brought 'A Bigger Bang' and the 'Steel Wheels' fell off ...

The executives will have to cross the 'Bridges to Babylon' and endure their 'Exile on main St'. They were 'out of our heads' doing 'Dirty Work' while 'Undercover' with their 'Sticky Fingers' in the till.

Beaten 'Black and Blue' by the markets, 'Their Satanic Majesties Request'ed some 'emotional Rescue' in the 'Aftermath' of this. 'England's Newest Hit Makers' held a 'Beggars banquet' with 'Goats Head soup' on offer as the moneys gone and they 'Can't get no satisfaction'.

Oh well 'Let It Bleed'... 'it's Only Rock an Roll' and 'Some Girls' will lick it up.

0 upvotes
safeashouses
By safeashouses (Nov 9, 2011)

Is this the year finally? I don't think so. Some of you guys have been predicting the demise of Olympus for 20 years now. Can you please send me the links to your Konica and Minolta going out of business post? I did my part to keep them going and if they do go under I'll start to shop for a new camera but as I still use an OM-3 and OM-1 that I bought 15 years ago it might take me a while.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 10, 2011)

And if they had made an autofocus OM camera they would still be players in the professional SLR market. But Olympus didn't, and Leitz didn't have the resources. Even so, there is too much redundancy in the camera market and like most optical companies Olympus makes their money elsewhere. If it comes down to it, somebody will definately be interested in their scientific products (good money as the hospital just passes the cost along). But cameras? This sounds more like an employee buyout, if it were to come to that. What makes this more of a pity is that they seem to be gaining some some ground with m4/3.

0 upvotes
Raven Falls
By Raven Falls (Nov 10, 2011)

I just wish Olympus could have come out with a DSLR equivalent of the wonderful OM series of film cameras, instead of throwing in their lot with the micro-4/3rds cause and releasing cameras that, aside from the aspect ratio, did little to distinguish themselves from the DSLR competition.

0 upvotes
TOOBAD2
By TOOBAD2 (Nov 9, 2011)

I THINK THE WORKERS AT OLYMPUS SHOULD LOOK FOR WORK AT PANASONIC OR SONY IF THEY QUALIFY FOR THE JOB.

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Nov 9, 2011)

Pride before a fall... These big ego-ed business leaders display classic Asian big face. Not that western captains of trade are any less selfish. Unfortunately their selfish actions will hurt many workers and their families. If the accusations are true, take away their wealth and toss them in jail for a few years.

0 upvotes
mediokre
By mediokre (Nov 10, 2011)

what's "classically asian" about this? remember lehman brothers? enron?

2 upvotes
KitHB
By KitHB (Nov 9, 2011)

As Olympus is also the market leaders in endoscope technology, will the investigation be top-down or bottom-up?

7 upvotes
porrsha
By porrsha (Nov 9, 2011)

They are a leader in flexible endoscope technology only. They are getting their clocks cleaned in rigid endoscope technology.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 10, 2011)

By the seriousness of this scandal, I think it needs multiple in-depth penetrations.

0 upvotes
xilvar
By xilvar (Nov 9, 2011)

Zvonimir, the point is that a single powerful person at the top can EASILY destroy a company regardless of how hard and well the little peon workers work. The market and media simply reflect this reality.

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Nov 9, 2011)

So people think the company of "Olympus" are members of the management, and not their workers, engineers, innovators, etc.?
Too much corporate mentality in people's heads these days, so everyone personify great company achievements with the faces of the handful with smiles in top positions. Same with Apple – if the Steve is such a remarkable achiever, then why Apple has 47,000+ employees?
But its the opposite when it comes to faults: then the whole of the company and their achievements become 'rubbish'. How utterly denigrating and disrespectful towards all the hard working people, who support their families with honest work in those same corporations, but who have zero knowledge on what's going on at the top.

9 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 9, 2011)

The 30% value just bolted to Canon and Nikon...

...maybe, 29%

1% went to Sony...

2 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Nov 9, 2011)

I wonder where the mythology comes from that corporations are efficient and productive organizations while governments are wasteful bureaucracies. Oh yeah, it comes from corporations!

4 upvotes
Nic Walmsley
By Nic Walmsley (Nov 9, 2011)

So true. The interesting thing is how that myth seems to just keep perpetuating, especially in the commercial media. Funny that :/

0 upvotes
jonska
By jonska (Nov 9, 2011)

I suppose the real difference is that corporations lose money contributed by investors of their own free will, while governments lose money extracted from taxpayers against their will.

Also, a corporation that loses money will eventually fail (except for banks rescued by government) while a government that loses money will simply raise taxes or devaluate their currency (which is basically the same thing).

4 upvotes
Nic Walmsley
By Nic Walmsley (Nov 9, 2011)

I dunno about that, jonska. It seems to me the first thing a big business does is set about getting as much support from government it can. Tax breaks, regulations to curtail competition, bail outs, you name it. I'm not talking small corner stores. They are the real meat in the sandwich.

0 upvotes
rsig
By rsig (Nov 9, 2011)

That's a myth I've never heard. Since businesses fail every day, and governments squander money every day, my guess it's the mythology of the insane.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Nov 9, 2011)

Relative to government employment and nationalised corporations, then yes, they are much more efficient. However corporations are, ironically, socilialism in microcosm (command and control structures). By far the most efficient and most human is small business and family farms, which used to be the concern of genuine conservatism. But the Republicans and the UK Conservative party are not recognisably conservative any longer.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 9, 2011)

So Olympus redeems the case for private corporations because it wooed shareholders voluntarily with bogus financial reports?

To be ethical, taxes should be "voluntary"? Or justice will prevail if everything is voluntary and private?

Financial markets "add value," while government merely destroys value?

0 upvotes
Nic Walmsley
By Nic Walmsley (Nov 9, 2011)

Here’s my hope:

They won’t go for a wholesale liquidation, as too many of the big institutional creditors would lose out.

Stabilizing the company is their only chance of recouping loans, so they will put in administrators, cut back to core business (medical and consumer imaging), and give the administrators 12 months to stabilize the business, and see if they can return it to profit.

Sure it might mean no Pen Pro in 2012, but that is better than no Olympus in 2012!

1 upvote
M1963
By M1963 (Nov 9, 2011)

I think the Pen Pro is the least of everyone's concerns right now, Nic. You're absolutely right.
Also, I can't understand why so many people believe the imaging business is so relevant at Olympus Corporation. When they hear 'Olympus', what comes to their mind is 'cameras'. They fail to realize Olympus is so much bigger than the imaging division, and that this scandal may have repercussions way beyond Japan's economy.

0 upvotes
Terrance13
By Terrance13 (Nov 8, 2011)

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Olympus is a very dishonest corporation. I'll be happy to see that corporation go under.

This is the company that sold the E-510 as "the internal image stabilization stabilizes any existing lens", and then they turned off the internal image stabilization when you mounted an old film lens with an adapter. It took me six months of arguing and posting all over the Internet to get them to turn it on. Then they still refused to turn on the Focus Confirmation. And they still haven't, and probably never will.

To Hell with them. I've switched to using Canon.

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Nov 9, 2011)

So you think the company of "Olympus" are members of the management, and not their workers, engineers, innovators, etc.? Too much corporate mentality in people's heads these days, so everyone personify great company achievements with the faces of the handful with smiles in top positions.
But its the opposite when it comes to faults: then the whole of the company and their achievements is rubbish. How utterly denigrating and disrespectful towards all the hard working people, who support their families with honest work in those same corporations.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
davidrm
By davidrm (Nov 9, 2011)

gosh. They really were out to get you, weren't they. I sure hope you posted anonymously.

0 upvotes
Terrance13
By Terrance13 (Nov 14, 2011)

That is a couple of very illogical responses. Is that all that Olympus defenders have?

@Zvonimir: I am sure that there are some very hardworking wage-slaves in the Olympus factory in China, and they are sweating and fretting day and night to crank out their quota of inferior cameras for us. They do not, however, make Olympus The Corporation into a good organization. The top executives still set a corporate policy that cheats everybody from the customers to the stockholders.

@David: Olympus was out to get my money by selling an overpriced piece of junk as a "semi-professional" camera, and they succeeded. They also succeeded with a bunch of other people. But then the word got out, and sales dropped so low that Olympus had to discontinue the E-Volt line of DSLRs. I never even hinted that Olympus would send agents to attack me. Does Olympus pay shills to post such ridiculous things in forums?

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
davidrm
By davidrm (Nov 8, 2011)

and STILL the price of the E-5 refuses to drop....

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Nov 8, 2011)

And people really believe they should be abandoning supporting hard work of Olympus engineers in all their fields, beside photography?
If there's enough time and good people, and many more managements and their practices taken under the magnifying glass — including photography industry — this forum would eventually become "Plein Ar Pencil and Watercolour Painting Review".

0 upvotes
simon65
By simon65 (Nov 8, 2011)

Olympus embroiled in the corporate scandal of the decade

The Olympus board are a bunch of out of touch men in denial. The idea that they can offer this or that crumb to the authorities and this will all go away is pure fantasy. Nothing short of a a full investigation by the police, the complete removal of the board, and the dispatching of prison sentences to the guilty is going to clear Olympus of this shame.

And shame it is.

The scale of the financial irregularities at Olympus are quite simply mind blowing. The company has been involved in bizarre dealings which dwarfed its own balance sheet, which it attempted to cover up, and which it still refuses to explain.

I started off believing Olympus was involved in bribery, but the scale of this is so large that my best guess now is that the the company is actually involved with the Japanese underworld as well.

Whatever my plans to invest in an Olympus four thirds system are over. I simply refuse to buy from the Mob.

5 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

The Olympus execs and board will remain in denial for good reason. Japanese (and many other) laws are lenient towards corporate executives against whom there is no explicit evidence that they ordered wrongdoings. There is ample protection by feigning ignorance and avoiding any sort of written acknowledgement of actions that mislead or defrauded.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Jail terms for corporate fraud are uncommon. The maxium sentence of 10 years is seldom imposed. Kikukawa may be able to convince a court he simply "overpaid" for investments unwittingly, or that he was in the clear because no auditor took exception, or that other Japanese firms also have over-valued assets. Documents for some events may have vanished or never existed at all. Kikukawa may win acuiquital, or perhaps only a token sentence, early parole, and quick return to golf and other pleasures. The low security detention accomodations may be more spacious and comfortable than some office worker cubicles or apartments. And, with any luck, the regulators wll never unravel the clever labyrinth used to hide the loot. Silence, or omertà, confers 90% of impunity.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

It is silly to suggest that an Oly is a "mob cam." Financial fraud should not taint a good product, though it might kill the company that made it. The real criminals in this case were klepto-execs in blue suits and ties. The story about yakuza penetration will certainly be hyped, though, to earn clemency for the high-status BOD gents. The defense will argue that low-life goons (tatoos, missing fingers, the "usual suspects") terrified otherwise model citizens with "offers they could not refuse."

1 upvote
photoPhlow
By photoPhlow (Nov 8, 2011)

The Olympus medical division will survive in some form or another. It is a profitable business.

I'm not so sure about the camera division. Even if the company survives, they may have to get rid of money-losing business.

The optics on this would have been better if Woodford had not been canned. Until the real truth is uncovered, institutional investors and bond-holders will stay away from Olympus like the plague.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 8, 2011)

One thing I've noticed about whistle blowers; they are almost always telling the truth. Look at politics.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 8, 2011)

This seems like a good time for Ricoh to announce an m4/3 kit for their GXR....

0 upvotes
ray s james
By ray s james (Nov 8, 2011)

Preferably a regular 4/3 kit

0 upvotes
psn
By psn (Nov 8, 2011)

I have a feeling this isn't quite the full story. This is more like an excuse to mask anything far more shady (eg. ties to organized crime, etc.). With a few investigations going on, we might be able to glean on the truth.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 9, 2011)

The tie to "oganized crime" or the yakuza may be simply a red herring. It deflects attention from the corporate officers' responsibility. Oly brass may have employed some low life's with no reputations to lose for the sake of "fronting" certain actions or payments, shielding the officers from statutory guilt. They will claim "a mobster made us do it." Some scruffy "hoodlum" may be convicted, serve a 5-year term, while someone takes good care of his family, and then (if he stays silent) "retire" on a nice income for the balance of their lives.

0 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (Nov 8, 2011)

There goes the rangefinder body style with evf on the left top side and built in flash and flash shoe mount mft camera .... :-)

0 upvotes
EOS Photographer
By EOS Photographer (Nov 8, 2011)

Canon could step in cheap for a mirrorles system that is quite popular.
The future of Olympus seems extremely grim as from today.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Anepo
By Anepo (Nov 8, 2011)

I am officially SELLING my olympus mirrorless system.
So far I have decided to stay away from Pentax for all times and now Olympus just joined that list.

3 upvotes
00112233
By 00112233 (Nov 8, 2011)

I just do not understand your remark. What does Pentax have to do with this?. And the fact that Olympus has dismissed an executive has nothing to do with the quality and technology that the company has acquired through the years. I have an old Olympus Camedia C-830L that still takes very good photos and I will never give it away!!

7 upvotes
random78
By random78 (Nov 8, 2011)

@Anepo: Even if olympus falls apart (i hope it doesn't), I am quite sure your olympus cameras / lenses will keep working :) So I don't understand why you would think of selling your olympus gear at this news

1 upvote
JSK_HP
By JSK_HP (Nov 8, 2011)

Why would Canon want to buy into the m4/3 design at all, let alone now? Even if Olympus or its product line manages to survive, m4/3 is still badly wounded. Why get tangled up in that mess?

1 upvote
pedroboe100
By pedroboe100 (Nov 8, 2011)

Not me, I'm keeping my gear. Works great, love the Jpegs. Plus I want to support Olympus especially in this difficult times.

1 upvote
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (Nov 8, 2011)

What about the Olympus engineers? Once these fly away to other companies Olympus innovation even if it recovers is done.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 8, 2011)

Why would they do that? And where would they go? Short of total company dissolution (and Olympus makes a lot of cool, profitable stuff in addition to cameras) mass firings, while a daily event in the US are rare in Japan. And it's not like the other camera manufacturers are doing that much better right now.

0 upvotes
Jon Ragnarsson
By Jon Ragnarsson (Nov 8, 2011)

Yoshihisa Maitani is rolling in his grave...

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Nov 8, 2011)

I think he passed away at just the right time. He lived long enough to see the new Pen come to fruition, but not so long that he got to see his company turned into a byword for fraud and deception.

3 upvotes
JSK_HP
By JSK_HP (Nov 8, 2011)

The most disgusting thing about this scandal is that the remarks made by Kikukawa after Woodford's firing, and the general absence of Japanese condemnation of these remarks, lay bare the deeply-entrenched racism at this company and perhaps at other Japanese companies.

Good riddance to the crooked Olympus execs, but beyond dealing with the financial scandal, they and the rest of the Japanese corporate world have got a lot of work to do to repair the broader damage done by Kikukawa.

8 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

I disagree. The insults hurtled against Woodford by his "indignant" Olympus ex-colleagues weren't half as abusive or revolting as the ones made against him by non-Japanese Oly "loyalists" who accused him of being a mere "disgruntled" big ego who had "destroyed the company" by making baseless accusations to avenge his dismissal and extort money. Yes, folks, all that and worse in some forum threads. Some people of that ilk still consider Woodford a principle "culprit." It all goes to show how difficult it is to go against the flow. Woodford was no saint, or he'd never have risen in any corporation. Self-interest can occasionally inspire people to to the right thing. It helps if, as in Woodford's case, to have enough money not to worry about being banished. Most people simply cannot afford to blow the whistle: the odds of success tend to be poor, and the rewards may be zero or negative, even if you "win." Lots of powerful people were probably in collusion with the fraud.

2 upvotes
JSK_HP
By JSK_HP (Nov 8, 2011)

True, but the remarks of the so-called "Oly loyalists" were not the ones that counted. Kikukawa had the power, and not only fired Woodford, he got the hate-Woodford ball rolling, probably in an effort to deflect attention from his crooked conduct. Kikukawa could have said anything when firing Woodford; he made some fairly specific choices and those choices are revealing.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Kikukawa would not have made the utterances if he did not think that people were disposed to agree with the slanders. The biggest impediment to whistle-blowers is the wall of hostility, silence, or incomprehension that fellow workers, or the public at large, put in the way of anyone who alleges wrongdoing. The prospects are dim. Prove your case and you will still fear for your career and life. Many complicit in the misdeeds, but unindicted, will act against you. Penalties for the misdeed itself may be light or require endless litigation. People will blame you for rocking the boat, allegedly for "personal gain." It's more than just Kikukawa, and it happens in places besided Japan.

Odds are that many BOD bigshots will outsurvive Woodford and bequeath big estates to their successors. People will spawn myths that things were just fine, until that no-good rogue "whiner" started the trouble.

1 upvote
453C
By 453C (Nov 10, 2011)

To Cy's broader point about whistle blowers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Silkwood

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Hajime Sagawa, the "advisor" who helped funnel money out of Olympus, is divorcing his wife, and they will split their wealth. This is an obvious dodge to insulate the fortune from civil and criminal action. Some Olympus executives may also be fixing their private books in order to survive the turmoil and avoid any executive's ultimate disgrace: poverty.

3 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Nov 8, 2011)

from the bbc report
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15632320

> "This is very serious. Olympus admitted it has made false entries to cover its losses for 20 years. All people involved in this over 20 years would be responsible," said Ryosuke Okazaki of ITC Investment Partners.

> "There is a serious danger that Olympus shares will be delisted. The future of the company is extremely dark," he warned.

False book keeping for *twenty years* ~this looks worse and worse, and I expect there is probably a lot more muck to come out.

5 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Nov 8, 2011)

Is this why someone I know is trying to sell an E-PL1 kit (WITH the 14-42) for only $240 and hasn't been able to move it? I'd been considering it as a "portable alternative" to my two D5000 bodies, I'd probably just use the 14-42 anyway, at that price you can't beat it. I'd hate to be buying into a brand that may not exist in 2-3 years, though.

1 upvote
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Nov 8, 2011)

No, I think that is completely unrelated. It's more likely related to the fact that there is now an E-PL3 as well as E-PL2 available, and the E-PL1 kit new is on offer for around €300 (don't know the exact US price).

Anyway, if you buy a second hand entry-level camera these days, you should not expect it to have any significant value when you sell it on. (it's already got a mid-level compact price right now!).

And whatever happens, that E-PL1 will just keep working. It's worse if you invested highly into expensive MFT lenses. But even then, there will be Panasonic bodies to use them on with full compatibility. That's one of the good things about the MFT system.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 8, 2011)

Don't buy it, or you'll soon have the problem of getting rid of two D5000s. :-)

1 upvote
Scales USA
By Scales USA (Nov 8, 2011)

It might keep working, or it might need parts that are no longer made by a defunct company.

0 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Nov 9, 2011)

Other than widely available batteries, what kind of parts & service would one expect to apply to a used, out of warranty, out of production, $240-at-best camera?

There's badness afoot at Olympus, but this is almost as silly as the thinking Oly might be responsible for my milk curdling.

1 upvote
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Nov 8, 2011)

For a start I do not believe its just the 3 executives only and its more likely that the board and many of the top end management are in the know if not in the wrongdoing. And really the history might be more than what Oly had admitted.

Deep down there is a Japanese Corporate culture that simply condone such doing by " knowing but not saying " ; I remember well in my years working in Japaqn that one of the remark held by a Japanese counterpart on business meeting is none other than - " You Do Not Disagree " -

Unfortunately considering Olympus history regarding their imaging division; the Camera side might be in worse shape than many of us might exxxpecting or wanting.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Nov 8, 2011)

Oly would be an awesome third party lens maker like Sign or Tamron.

0 upvotes
Pixnat2
By Pixnat2 (Nov 8, 2011)

Time for Olympus to make a new start on a healthy base.
I'm confident that they will survive this and continue to make great cameras and lenses :-)

3 upvotes
Klipsen
By Klipsen (Nov 8, 2011)

Yes, but they'll need to add larger-sensor cameras to their catalogue. 4/3 had its time, but now m4/3 is probably their main source of income, and, if they want to make SLRs, they probably need a bigger sensor.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Klipsen: "now m4/3 is probably their main source of income,..."

What income? Oly has been reporting losses, even without tallying the fraud. If it could not win with m4/3 (pickup trucks), why imagine it can make money making semis, where it must compete with Mack (Canon) and GMC (Nikon)?

1 upvote
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Nov 8, 2011)

APS-C are not 'big rigs' of the ICL camera world. If anything they are the 4 door performance sedan which can range from cheap to mildly expensive.

0 upvotes
PaulSnowcat
By PaulSnowcat (Nov 8, 2011)

Is this a beginnig of an agony, I wonder? If so, who will buy DSLR part of this pie? They used to make a DAMN GOOD lenses, before they killed the E-System for some mysterious reasons...

Aaaah I'd like to see 12-16 on my SONY, I know it can cover APS-C easely... Please. Sony, buy Oly's lenses patents and use them as they should be used! :)

0 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Nov 8, 2011)

This is a good time to buy Olympus shares.

3 upvotes
Karl Gnter Wnsch
By Karl Gnter Wnsch (Nov 8, 2011)

Not if that was only the tip of the ice berg - which I fear it is. If there was insider trading of shares (as anything else IMHO wouldn't make sense without) then that could well be the end of Olympus as we know it today and they will go into the range of penny stocks faster than you can say "investigation"...

4 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Nov 8, 2011)

Trading was halted before the stock could fall even lower. Once trading is resumed when the market reopens, it is likely that those would wanted to sell but couldn't will do so. No one knows what the company is really worth because of accounting fraud. Buying Oly stock right now is a huge gamble. Many of the institutional investors who own large blocks of stock won't be willing to take that risk.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

5% chance of a spectacular gain (perhaps from $0.01 to $0.05 / share). 95% chance of surrendering the shares for nothing to the creditors holding $7 billion in claims against the company.

3 upvotes
Noogy
By Noogy (Nov 8, 2011)

I simply hope they are able to go back very soon to making good cameras. My first-ever digital camera (point-and-shoot) was made by Olympus :-) It has been ten years since I last purchased a product made by them.

0 upvotes
Muffla Bach
By Muffla Bach (Nov 8, 2011)

Noogy's the real culprit.

1 upvote
balios
By balios (Nov 8, 2011)

Fortunately, Olympus president Shuichi Takayama knew nothing of this...

I'm reminded of the Kurosawa film "The Bad Sleep Well".

1 upvote
migus
By migus (Nov 8, 2011)

Perhaps Japan needs a few dozen 'outsider' executives like Michael, to clean up its yakuza circles?

1 upvote
ScottieC
By ScottieC (Nov 8, 2011)

hmmm Olympus + Kodak might make a good merger... they maybe able to save each other...

2 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Nov 8, 2011)

Two wrongs don't make a right.

9 upvotes
fransams
By fransams (Nov 8, 2011)

Just bought some Panasonic shares.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Oly and Panasonic share som ills. Panasonic has been losing money and also "wasted" resources by buying a failing company (Sanyo).

1 upvote
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Nov 8, 2011)

Woodford has done Olympus a big favour. Hope they clean up everything, although pressure form yakuza (just because he said his life was not safe anymore I come up with this) might be big and difficult to get rid of actually.

Of course it is sad for Oly and its clients also. What is going to happen. I personally would like to see Oly's camera division to go anywhere as long as it is not Panasonic. What I like about m43 is diversity and two (strong) companies supporting/developing it, not just one.

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Nov 8, 2011)

This is good news for Olympus Corp. Things will never be the same: the corporation's business will now be under severe scrutiny, and there will be no more shady deals. (At least I hope so...)

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

No more shady deals, just a messy liquidation.

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Nov 8, 2011)

Maybe not. I surely hope not...

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Nov 8, 2011)

So which venture capitalist is going to buy the company and chop it up?

0 upvotes
physguy88
By physguy88 (Nov 9, 2011)

No one. Not until people figure out just what is and is not on the books.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 8, 2011)

Is this the beginning of the end?

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Nov 8, 2011)

Maybe not. Olympus's photography division stands for about 16% of the corporation's overall assets. It's not as vital as we, the photographers, might think. It's not such a heavy burden for the company. On the other hand, however, this makes the camera business disposable, so the new board may find it tempting to sell it. If that's the case, let's just hope the purchaser doesn't do what Sony did to Minolta...

2 upvotes
charliedid
By charliedid (Nov 8, 2011)

I think it is toast. Consumers will have zero interest in buying from Olympus after all this BS.

2 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Nov 8, 2011)

Everybody loves a comeback.

4 upvotes
HarryLally
By HarryLally (Nov 8, 2011)

The shares have fallen 70% since Woodford left and could well be de-listed, A great opportunity for Panasonic to take over Olympus on the cheap, rationalise production, merge HO's seriously take out costs. I think the brand will live on under Panasonic's stewardship.

0 upvotes
epo001
By epo001 (Nov 8, 2011)

Bet it will be a long time before a Japanese company hires a Chief Executive from outside their cosy circle. Woodford simply didn't realise he was supposed to follow the code of omerta (or is that the Mafia?)

1 upvote
rgarijo
By rgarijo (Nov 8, 2011)

In Japan is the Yakuza

0 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (Nov 8, 2011)

Hmmm... from NYT: "[Woodford said he] was advised to leave the country immediately."

0 upvotes
totleytom
By totleytom (Nov 8, 2011)

I've read a suggestion somewhere that Woodford did *exactly* what he was supposed to do. There were interests within the company's shareholders who wanted all this to come out.

3 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Nov 8, 2011)

Woodford was hardly an outsider, having worked for the company for decades. However, I'm not sure whether the Japanese language even distinguishes between foreigner, stranger, outsider or alien.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 8, 2011)

Japanese has multiple gradations for every relationship and title. One expression it does not appear to accept, however, is "naturalized Japanese citizen." It is curious, though, that some other Japanese firms have admitted foreign executives.

0 upvotes
weesam
By weesam (Nov 8, 2011)

Gaijin can never be Japanese.

Even people born in Japan to Japanese born parents, if there are chinese or koreans down the line, they are, and always will be, gaijin.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 98