are kicking off the weekend by entering into a "business alliance agreement" and a "capital alliance agreement," which are essentially fancy ways of announcing a big time investment of one into the other. In this case, Sony is tossing about $645 million at Olympus in order to become the company's largest shareholder.
After the investment is complete, Sony will own a 51 percent stake in Olympus, while Olympus will retain the remaining 49 percent. What's the point? For Sony, it gives the company easy entry into the profitable medical equipment business, a sector where Olympus is already established.
As part of the new business arrangement, Olympus and Sony will share certain camera technologies with each other.
"By combining the know-how and products Olympus has developed in its medical business with Sony's strengths in audio visual solutions, the two companies aim to establish a comprehensive systems integration business that offers high value-added solutions for operating rooms and other medical arenas," the two companies said in a statement.
Sony and Olympus will explore ways to "enhance their competitiveness" in the camera business, particularly in compact digital cameras. One way they'll do that is by having Olympus supply Sony with camera lenses and mirror cells, while Sony provides Olympus with image sensors.