Sony Shares Rise After Report of Talks With Olympus: Tokyo Mover

Olympu Chairman Yasuyuki Kimoto
Yasuyuki Kimoto, chairman of Olympus Corp. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Sony Corp., Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, rose to the highest level in two months in Tokyo trading after NHK reported the company is in final talks to invest in Olympus Corp.

The shares gained 4.5 percent to 1,027 yen, the highest since July 10, at the 3 p.m. close of trading in Tokyo. Olympus, the Japanese endoscope maker that admitted to accounting fraud last year, fell 1 percent, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.4 percent.

Sony will invest about 50 billion yen ($635 million) in Olympus and set up a company to manufacture medical equipment, public broadcaster NHK reported Sept. 14. Olympus Chairman Yasuyuki Kimoto said in July the Tokyo-based company was in discussions with Sony, Terumo Corp. and Fujifilm Holdings Corp. about possible tie-ups.

“It would be a good purchase for Sony,” said Kenichi Hirano, general manager and strategist at Tachibana Securities Co. in Tokyo. A tie-up would help Sony expand its medical business, he said.

Sony hasn’t made any decision and wasn’t the source of reports on the talks, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement on Sept. 15. Mami Imada, a Sony spokeswoman, declined to comment when reached by phone today.

Restated Earnings

Olympus hasn’t narrowed down candidates for a capital alliance, Tsuyoshi Oshima, a company spokesman, said Sept. 14. Olympus isn’t the source of reports on the talks, Osamu Kobayashi, another spokesman, said today.

A deal between the two companies may be reached within a month, the Nikkei newspaper reported Sept. 15, without saying where it got the information.

Olympus restated earnings last year, taking a $1.3 billion cut in total equity, after admitting it paid inflated fees on takeovers and overpaid for three Japanese companies to conceal past investment losses.

Founded in 1919 as a microscope and thermometer business, Olympus is the world’s biggest maker of endoscopes, used by doctors to look inside the body. It controls about 75 percent of the global market for the instruments, which are used to diagnose diseases such as colorectal cancer.

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