Ricoh just bought Pentax for $124.2 million!

"Japanese optical glass-maker Hoya said on Friday it would sell its Pentax camera business to copier and printer maker Ricoh , in a deal the Nikkei business daily said was worth about 10 billion yen ($124.2 million)."

Read the details on Reuters and also the notice of sale on Hoya's website.

Hoya executives said publicly in the past that they would like to sell Pentax on several occasions.

Update - I just received the official press release:

HOYA Corporation (“HOYA”) and Ricoh Company, Ltd. (“Ricoh”) hereby announce that pursuant to decisions by the President and CEO of HOYA and Representative Director of Ricoh, respectively, HOYA and Ricoh have executed an agreement as of today to transfer HOYA’s PENTAX Imaging Systems Business (the business of developing, manufacturing and selling optical instruments such as digital cameras and replacement lenses, digital camera accessories, security camera-related products, and binoculars) (the “PENTAX Imaging Systems Business”) to Ricoh. HOYA will effectuate this transfer by incorporating a new corporation (“NewCo”), cause NewCo to succeed the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business by way of a corporate split (kyushu bunkatsu) (the “Corporate Split”), and transfer all shares of NewCo to Ricoh (such split and transfer shall be referred to as the “Split/Transfer”) as of October 1, 2011 (Estimated).

Prior to the Split/Transfer, HOYA intends to transfer its interests in PENTAX VN CO., Ltd., an overseas subsidiary of HOYA in relation to the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business, to NewCo. Please note, that since the Corporate Split is a simplified corporate split (kan-i kyushu bunkatsu), disclosure items/content have been partially abbreviated.

Further, HOYA will continue to develop its businesses assigned from PENTAX Corporation which was merged (kyushu gappei) into HOYA on March 31, 2008 other than the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business, such as its businesses regarding digital camera modules, DVD pickup lenses, endoscopes, artificial bones, and voice synthesis.

HOYA merged (kyushu gappei) with PENTAX Corporation on March 31, 2008, and has developed the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business assigned from PENTAX Corporation until now. As part of selecting and focusing its management resources, HOYA has decided to cause NewCo to succeed the PENTAX Imaging Systems Business via the Corporate Split, transfer the business and shares,
etc. of HOYA’s Imaging Systems business subsidiary to NewCo via a business transfer and share/interests transfer, and thereafter, transfer all shares of NewCo to Ricoh.

Ricoh’s core business is office solutions focusing on MFPs, Ricoh has also introduced many cameras to the market since its inception in 1936. Ricoh was one of the first manufacturers to launch digital cameras in 1995 and Ricoh’s current high-end compact digital cameras are well regarded in the industry.

Now Ricoh aims to establish a consumer business. As a first step to achieve this goal, Ricoh strengthens its camera businesses. Ricoh takes it as an indispensable initiative to obtain the small and lightweight interchangeable lens camera technology, lens technology and sales channels held by the Pentax Imaging Systems Division to pave the way for further advancement and innovations in the digital camera market.

Through this acquisition, Ricoh plans to 1) enhance its digital camera businesses (especially the interchangeable lens camera market which is expected to grow), 2) create value-added businesses for taken photographs (creation and development of value-added services that encourage seeing, storing and refinishing photographs and utilize photographs as communication tools), and 3) expand to other fields (study of entry into the image archiving business using medium-format digital cameras and enhancement of security-related products).

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  • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

    Pentax’s fate = Ricoh’s GR fate… good luck to them both. Guess Hoya won after all.

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      meant GXR… not GR…

  • Camaman

    LOOOOOOOL!
    NexT on month: both of them will be bought by SLR Magic!

    • Just A Thought

      Actually Ricoh and Pentax have a long history together. Ricoh made Pentax mount lenses – some made in a Nikon lens factory which Ricoh purchased. Ricoh used to make a Pentax compatible SLR back in the film days, if my memory is correct.

      With this move folks may finally see an interchangeable sensor DLSR. Hope this new marriage lasts.

  • Camaman

    Oh and I forgot… $124mil !?
    And here we thought it really cost to develop all these cameras, lenses and all else…
    Sounds like the were desperate to get rid of Pentax. How much were they in dept?

    • Anonographer

      They developed different colours for their camera’s, so that shouldn’t be too costly.

  • http://sdphoto.com.au Sam

    Hopefully they can breath some life into Pentax. Maybe release a full frame body?

    • the dude

      pentax can’t release a FF because doing so would put them into the firing line of the 5D and D700, and pentax, unlike sony, doesn’t have the glass to go with the sensor.

      even sony’s FF was a bit of a false alarm, showing how few clients would take a gamble when going FF.

      pentax’s fate is pretty much sealed by now, and the K-5 sensor stain/safox9+ fiasco drove the last nail in the coffin.

      if i were into stock, i’d sell.

      • Ke

        Pentax definitely has the glass to back it up IMO.

  • http://www.split.hr/Default.aspx Željko Kerum

    Hoya bought Pentax because of medical equipment. Now they sold only imaging division of Pentax and hold medical division.

  • What’s a Pentax?

    Pentax has been floundering in the market for a very long time. Pentax only has 1.5% market share in photography. Hoya must have seen it as pretty hopeless. Definitely a fire sale for a dying brand.

    • Eric

      Market share isn’t all that matters. A company can have 30% market share and still lose money. Mercedes has a very small piece of the automotive market share, but no one is worried about them dying. Ricoh/Pentax *could* position themselves in a similar niche in the photography world.

      • Sloaah

        Already occupied by Leica and, at the lower end, Fuji. Really think Ricoh/Pentax can compete in that regard? There isn`t really much that they can do while remaining original.

  • http://www.zhovtenko.net Vsevolod Zhovtenko

    I hope this won’t kill 645D line ^(

    • lolly

      The 645D line is probably keeping Pentax alive … maybe Ricoh can develop/promote Pentax medium format line better than Hoya

      • the dude

        pentax released the 40 megapixel camera just when phase one went to 80 megapixel. so clearly the rich pros would not buy it.

        also, the sensor is cropped so they had to release a wide angle for 5000$, probably because it’s more difficult to engineer such a wide lens, compared to -say- a 45.

        so the poor pro’s will not buy the camera.

        and it’s sold only in japan.

        pentax is’nt kept alive by anything, that’s why they got sold for such a miserable amount of monety.

        all of those deffective k5 bodies being returned and refurbished probably got them in the ditch in the first place.

        • Alex

          PhaseOne IQ180: $48,999
          PhaseOne IQ140: $26,000 (same sensor size and resolution as the 645D!)
          PhaseOne 28mm f/4.5: $4,490
          Pentax 645D: $9,996
          Yeah, the poor pros would gladly pay 2.5x the price for the PhaseOne…

          By the way, the 645D is sold worldwide. The anti-Pentax brigade never check the facts, it seems…

  • kurogome

    Ricoh is a big company, bigger than Hoya.

  • Ronan

    Just hope they’ll continue developping the 645d system and their aps-c line (with all those great ltd lenses).

  • Frank

    That means RicohPentax will have the GXR AND the Q system?
    Which one will survive?

    • Camaman

      hopefully none…

  • B0b

    cripes… $124M? kinda cheap, If you ask me… thought someone outside the usual group shoulda bought them.
    The K5 has very good performance – some say rivaling the Nikons and Canons in that segment. A consumer electronics company (with software chops) coulda built on that… Apple, Microsoft, or something like that. e.g. I doubt anyone would argue that Sony at least improved somewhat on Minolta’s holdings.

    Or… at that cheap price… flippin Zeiss coulda picked it up and started farting out digital Contaxes and Contaflexes… well… but then Kyocera would probably ask a mint for the rights to the name. Probably more than what Pentax cost.

    • asahiflex

      while some others say that it’s a gamble to buy a K-5 cause by the time the fifth copy you exchanged turns out to be working, there is a new generation of cameras on the market.

      it’s 124 mil. because hoya kept the medical and industrial side of the business, I guess the consumer photo division isn’t worth that much.

    • http://brianhirschfeldphotography.com BH

      Ricoh could of gotten a nice new boeing business jet………

  • http://peterjamus.com Jamus

    It’ll be an interesting marriage. Let’s say that at least.

  • Axel

    I hope it doesn’t ruin Pentax cameras. In the 80’s, I worked for the distributor of Hasselblad… and Ricoh’s. Side by side. At a camera show, we literally had to replace the Ricoh bodies once or twice a day because they would break. Maybe it will be the other way around, where Ricoh will pick up Pentax’s quality control.

    • asahiflex

      Hopefully not, pentax’s QC department is allready a legend in it’s cock-ups (sudden death motor, k5 stain, fallen buttons on the k5 and 645, safox 9+ tungsten missfocus, misalignment of sensors in k10, broken flashes in k10, banding sensors in K20 and so forth).

  • Todd

    My first 35mm film camera was a Ricoh. It was a very dependable camera. No problems. Then I bought a Pentax because my old lenses would work with it. I had my Pentax SLR for about 18 years and just sold it last month. I bought a Pentax DSLR last year and looking to replace it. I considered going with another brand but after considering how good Pentax has been to me I am committed to the brand. And once you feel the difference in quality of the Pentax compared to other offerings at the same price point you understand the difference. Pentax always seem to give you a more robust camera for the price. I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way. I think Pentax will be fine.

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