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Panasonic is finalizing a substantial investment in troubled medical and camera company Olympus, according to reports from Japan. The Kyodo news agency is saying that Panasonic will invest around ¥500bn ($630m) in the business - making it the company's largest shareholder. Panasonic has little presence in the medical market, so it seems likely the move is as much about ensuring the continuation of its partner in the Micro Four Thirds collaboration, which could have been jeopardized if the much-needed tie-up had been with a rival camera maker.
Earlier reports from Kyodo suggested that Olympus will announce an updated post-scandal business plan this Friday (June 8th), which could see a more formal announcement of such a deal. Olympus has repeatedly said it would seek a partner as it attempts to recover from an accounting scandal that had seen its share price plunge as it acknowledged losses of $1.7bn had been covered-up. Fujifilm, which also has extensive medical interests, was long rumored to be interested in a partnership.
Update: Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo has subsequently denied the reports.