Sony to invest in troubled Olympus: reports

Japan's Sony will inject about $623 million into troubled Olympus as the camera and medical equipment maker rebuilds its finances after a massive cover-up scandal, reports said Friday.

The 50-billion-yen deal would make Sony the single biggest Olympus shareholder with more than 10 percent of its stock, according to the Nikkei business daily, public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media.

The Nikkei said the firms are planning to reach a final deal by next month, but the two firms declined to comment on the story.

The latest reports come after earlier stories pegged Sony, rival Panasonic and Fujifilm among the likely candidates to invest in the scandal-hit firm.

Olympus has announced a major overhaul that includes cutting about seven percent of its workforce, while its new chief has publicly said he is seeking a capital injection to shore up its finances.

Olympus's reputation, and Japan's corporate governance image, were badly damaged after its British former chief executive blew the whistle last year over $1.7 billion worth of losses that the company had moved off its balance sheet.

The firm initially denied allegations it had used past acquisitions and outsized consultant fees to hide the huge losses dating back to the 1990s, but eventually admitted wrongdoing.

In March, the company and three former senior executives -- including ex-president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa -- were charged over their role in the scandal.

The reports on Friday said Sony, which itself is struggling after posting a record loss in its latest fiscal year, may want to team up with Olympus on camera technology and its medical equipment business.

Best known as a camera maker, Olympus is also a leader in the health care field -- including a near two-thirds share of the global endoscope market -- which Sony has said it would expand as part of its own overhaul.

Olympus has been searching for a potential investor as its balance sheet deteriorated since the accounting scandal, reporting a net loss of 48.99 billion yen in the fiscal year to March.

The company's shares rose 1.7 percent on Friday to 1,190 yen in Tokyo trade.

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