Panasonic tipped for $635m Olympus rescue package

Panasonic is readying as much as 50 billion yen ($635m) rescue injection into struggling Olympus, it's claimed, in part of what's believed to be an equity sell-off following the $1.7bn accounting fraud of 2011. Local press reported the potential deal, Reuters writes, which is expected to see Panasonic take shares in Olympus in a private offering. Such an agreement could extend a lifeline to Panasonic's business, too, giving it a stake in the healthcare industry.

Panasonic's own business has been on shaky ground for some time now, with a wobbly TV market leaving the company struggling. In contrast, the healthcare industry – in which Olympus is the leading manufacturer of diagnostic endoscopes – represents a more stable market.

If followed through, the agreement would leave Panasonic as Olympus' biggest shareholder. The camera company had been rumored to be considering job losses of as much as 2,500, and was believed to be considering an equity sale with either Panasonic or Sony.

The benefit for Olympus, it's suggested, is financial support for restructuring and marketing. However neither company will comment on the record as to the rumors.