Olympus is in the process of selling its camera and lens division (Olympus Imaging Business) to a private equity firm called Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. Although cameras and lenses will keep coming out under the Olympus and Zuiko brands, the move comes about after a difficult few years for Olympus, and the company referred to an “extremely severe” market in the announcement of the planned sale.

“We believe this is the right step to preserve the legacy of the brand, the value of the technologies and the outstanding products,” the company said. “Olympus sees this transfer as an opportunity to enable its imaging business to continue providing value to longtime and new customers, fans and photography enthusiasts.”

The move shouldn’t affect existing customers, at least in the short to medium term. “During the ongoing discussions, Imaging will continue business as usual. Sales, service and marketing departments will continue to work hard to support customers passionate about photography with great products and services.”

How it will affect the structure of the company remains to be seen, but it sounds like further cost cutting is on the table. “Prior to the closing of the transaction, Olympus plans to implement structuring reforms to the Imaging business aiming to change the business structure… to be more profitable and sustainable.”

While bureaucratic hurdles still have to be cleared, Olympus and Japan Industrial Partners hope to have the deal finalised by September 30th this year. We will bring you further updates as we get them. For the official statement, see here. Olympus UK has also released a statement on its Facebook page.