Sony Agrees to Halve Its Olympus Stake With Sale to JPMorgan

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Sony Corp. agreed to sell half its stake in Olympus Corp. to fund strategic investments, just two years after the Japanese companies formed a medical-device venture.

Sony entered into a contract to sell the shares to JPMorgan Chase & Co., reducing its Olympus holding to about 5 percent, the electronics maker said in a statement Wednesday. The stock sold for 71.8 billion yen ($600 million), Sony said in a separate release Thursday.

Tokyo-based Sony, the largest shareholder in the maker of endoscopes and cameras, pared its holdings after agreeing in 2012 to pay 50 billion yen for the stake. The electronics maker said it will book a 46.8 billion-yen windfall from the deal in the current quarter.

Sony’s shares rose 3.1 percent to 3,336 yen at the close in Tokyo trading. Olympus fell 4.1 percent to 4,240 yen, the biggest drop since Nov. 17. The benchmark Topix Index jumped 1.7 percent.

“We plan to use the funds to strengthen our financial base and for growth investments,” said Koji Kurata, a spokesman for Sony. “We still intend to continue collaborating and maintain our partnership.”

Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai has said he wants Sony to move into health-care equipment by using the edge its image sensors have over rivals. Those sensors also are used in smartphones and compact cameras.

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