One more try for the Pentax / Hoya merger|
(Friday, May 25, 2007 - 15:37 EDT)
The on-again, off-again planned merger of Pentax Corp. and Hoya Corp. looks to be on once more, according to the latest reports out of Japan.
The plans first came to light publicly back in December of last year, when Pentax and Hoya announced their intent to merge to become Hoya Pentax HD Corp from October 2007. All looked to be well, until in early April it became clear that most of Pentax's board was unhappy with the merger plans, championed by Fumio Urano - then company President. Urano and Chief Financial Officer Katsuo Mori (the only other board member in favor of the merger) were both ousted, with board member and merger opponent Takashi Watanuki stepping up as the new company President.
The following day Pentax's board voted down the merger plans, while indicating that it might still consider a sweetened deal offer that was then under consideration by Hoya. Henceforth, the story mostly played out in the media, with rumors flying back and forth as the companies themselves said little. Suggestions were that Pentax might attempt to go it alone, considering shedding unprofitable product lines and possibly even its headquarters property (although this last rumor was officially denied by Pentax), all in an attempt to increase profits and satisfy the company's biggest shareholder, Sparx Group Co.
Sparx has apparently continued to favor the Hoya merger, pushing strongly against the wishes of the post-Urano Pentax board. The latest media speculation (links: 1, 2, 3) - still not officially confirmed by either Pentax or Hoya - is that the offer will soon be accepted. Thereafter, Pentax's eight member board would resign to be replaced by a downscaled five member board - two members provided by Hoya, two from Pentax, and one from outside the company.
Early suggestions are that the Pentax board members would be Nobuaki Tanishima from the company's corporate planning department, and Ko Torigoe - currently in charge of the company's digital camera operations. Both gentlemen have been suggested as having potential to head up the new Pentax as company President, although the most recent reports seem to be favoring Tanishima over Torigoe for the role.
Both Pentax and Hoya are scheduled to hold board meetings just under a week from now on May 31st, and it seems likely that we may hear the final answer to the lengthy saga at that time. Keep an eye on our news page for any official comment from either company...