There's no official statement yet from either Canon or Mary Walker Exhibitions, the company behind Focus on Imaging, but articles from the British Journal of Photography and Amateur Photography Magazine independently confirm the news.
With the show scheduled to take place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham from March 6th to 9th, Canon's last-minute withdrawal leaves organizers with under two weeks to adjust their plans. Olivier Laurent, reporting for BJP, suggests that Panasonic's booth may be moved to occupy the space vacated by Canon. The news appears to have come as a surprise not only to the exhibition's organizers and the British media, but also to Canon Europe staff, as Amateur Photographer's Chris Cheesman notes that Focus appointments were still being scheduled with Canon just prior to the weekend.
Although it's dwarfed by the biennial Photokina show in Germany, Focus on Imaging is billed as being Europe's largest annual imaging show. As well as Pentax, this year's exhibitor list still includes a wide range of major names, including Adobe, Epson, Fujifilm, Hewlett Packard, JVC, Kodak, Leaf, Leica, Mamiya, Nikon, Panasonic, Phase One, Ricoh, Sigma, and Tamron.
Today's news mirrors Canon's decision to skip the PMA Spring 2010 tradeshow, albeit with significantly less notice given than was the case in that event. For PMA, Canon's news was followed by several other companies announcing that they too would either scale back their show plans, or pass on the event altogether, leading the Photo Marketing Association to reschedule this year's show to the fall, open it to the public, and rebrand it as CliQ 2011. It remains to be seen whether similarly drastic changes will be needed for Focus on Imaging...