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June 30, 2011

Ricoh buying Pentax - it is OFFICIAL (Hoya press release!)

UPDATE 1:33PM NYC time (2:33AM Tokyo time): Pentax-Hoya has issued an open letter to its customers. Here is the meat of the open letter, which perhaps can be summarized in four words: keep buying Pentax gear ;-)

"No operational changes of PENTAX Imaging System Business are anticipated for the time being by making this agreement. All employees will be transferred to the new company accordingly. Also, all current products will continue to be sold with the PENTAX brand name under current operations."


UPDATE 11:22am NYC time (12:22am Tokyo time): The media press releases are out as you can see at PDN Pulse (corrected link) et al. Hoya will continue to use the Pentax name for endoscopes and non-camera related products, and Ricoh will use the Pentax name for camera-related products. AP UK has quotes from Pentax UK and so does BJoP which also opines whether this deal makes sense?

The computer-translated Digitalcamera.jp post says Hoya will retain "lenses for DVDs, endoscopy, artificial bone and speech synthesis" (computer-translated) [if reading at a later date, look for it in the Digitalcamera.jp archives under July-1-2011].

The most detailed write-up is at DC Watch Impress who attended the press event in Japan. Unfortunately it is computer-translated. Based on the computer-translation, it doesn't look like Ricoh wants to make any pronouncements or reveal any future plans at the moment which is often what happens during M&A. The DC Watch text also notes that the Pentax 645D has been adopted by the Library of Congress (in Japan?).


Body Language faux-analysis
DC Watch Impress includes a picture of the two CEOs shaking hands. Our body language expert (Prof. Dr. Make-It-Up-As-He-Goes) notes that the Hoya CEO looks relieved as if a huge burden was lifted off his shoulders, while the Ricoh CEO is trying to suppress his teenage girl glee of now owning Pentax. Notice how he is holding the Hoya CEO with both hands so he won't run away or change his mind ;-)


UPDATE 2:12am NYC time (3:12pm Tokyo time): There is an official Hoya press release in English shown at the Hoya English news page. Here is the PDF file (thanks @aafuss). Here are a couple of paragraphs of interest (most of the press release focuses on the logistics of the transaction)...


"HOYA and Ricoh have executed an agreement as of today to transfer HOYA’s PENTAX Imaging Systems Business (the business of developing, manufacturing and selling optical instruments such as digital cameras and replacement lenses, digital camera accessories, security camera-related products, and binoculars)"


"Through this acquisition, Ricoh plans to 1) enhance its digital camera businesses (especially the interchangeable lens camera market which is expected to grow), 2) create value-added businesses for taken photographs (creation and development of value-added services that encourage seeing, storing and refinishing photographs and utilize photographs as communication tools), and 3) expand to other fields (study of entry into the image archiving business using medium-format digital cameras and enhancement of security-related products"


The bureaucracies of the transaction will be finalized on October 1st, 2011.

Reuters says that Nikkei said the price tag is 10 billion yen. That's 3.5x times as much as yesterday's MySpace sale!


UPDATE 1:50am NYC time (2:50pm Tokyo time): It is OFFICIAL! It is on the Hoya website! You can see the headline at the Hoya front page (computer translated). Here is the press release of the Pentax transfer/sale to Ricoh in a computer-translated PDF file (use Chrome).

According to the computer-translation, October 1st 2011 is the official date. I don't think I can make out the details based on the computer-translation. I am sure english-speaking press releases will follow eventually!


Digital Camera Assets of Pentax + Ricoh
The combined Pentax and Ricoh digital camera line-up as of today includes:
+ 645 medium format system
+ Pentax DSLR K-mount system
+ Ricoh GXR system (APS-C and 1/2.3" modules)
+ history of 1/1.x" Ricoh compacts with RAW
+ the new Pentax Q system
+ industrial strength Ricoh element-proof cameras
+ Optio and Caplio P&S cameras


Rumor-to-News History
START 7/1/11 12:57AM NYC time (1:57PM Tokyo time): It looks like there may be a shake-up in the camera world! A story by Reuters Japan says that according to their (multiple) sources, Ricoh is going to buy Pentax from Hoya! The sources said the deal may be announced Friday (it is already Friday in Japan) [via dpreview Pentax forum]

Please treat this as a rumor, but please keep in mind Reuters doesn't usually post random rumors...


NIKKEI-headline-on-ricoh-and-pentax
UPDATE 7/1/11 1:20AM NYC time (2:20pm Tokyo time): The headline "Ricoh to buy Pentax brand from Hoya" appears at the "Nikkei Exclusives" box at Nikkei.com, however, only subscribers can read the article. I do not know if it is the Reuters story or Nikkei's sources!


UPDATE 1:43AM NYC time (2:43pm Tokyo time): A short post on this has been posted at DC Watch Impress (computer-translated), however computer-translation is not clear. Can anyone read Japanese?... The "related articles" at DC Watch remind us of the late 2009 rumor of JVC Kenwood buys Pentax...

There is not enough information out there yet to tell whether Ricoh will be buying just the Pentax brand or all the photography-related Hoya assets? I don't know if they are waiting for the Japanese stock market to close for the week before making an official announcement?

Perhaps Ricoh is emboldened - earlier in the week, the Ricoh stock went up after the EU cut tariffs on office equipment said Bloomberg, and a month ago they cut 10,000 jobs says Reuters, "cutting unprofitable products and consolidating factories" - preparing for a Pentax take-over?

To sort-out the time relative to your local time zone, here is TimeAndDate.com.



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