Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hoya To Buy Pentax?

Unverified reports over the last week are starting to build to a head that Hoya is all set now to buy Pentax at 770 yen per share and make their offer in the very near future, just weeks after previous merger plans were cancelled and Pentax president Fumio Urano stepped down. Vague news at in Japan speculates that ongoing negotiations have been very difficult despite everyone's best efforts for a friendly union and that some people at Pentax are displeased with the agendas proposed to Pentax's board for future operations, perhaps related to Hoya's stated indifference to Pentax's camera division, which is less lucrative than their medical and high end optical equipment manufacturing.

Weird ideas started at are floating around that Pentax might sell their Tokyo HQ, or abandon plans for the 645D, but it's all unsubstantiated and could be planted news to indirectly influence share prices of Pentax before Hoya tenders their offer. Until Penetax says something themselves, I do my best to ignore the rumors of drama, because it's all highly unlikely that the technology opportunities and the legacy of Pentax cameras isn't going to weather Hoya.

One of the odder rumors is that current Pentax president Takashi Watanuki and other Pentax directors are considering resigning/retiring in the near future, or have already begun leaving, because of the unresolved tension generated by what was once hotly anticipated to be a golden opportunity for both companies. It's also been rumored that the camera division may be set up to be run separately with a third-party stepping in or deep cut-backs could change direction.

However, the division is quite beloved internally at Pentax and lots of people are working hard on keeping the camera division's long term plans going strong. Until there is a formal announcement stating otherwise, Pentax are still planning a big year of releases.

Links: English translation of news article, Reuters Article (Japanese)

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