It's the eternal problem with takeovers: who takes over? And, as George Orwell so tellingly observed in his tale about the pigs (his famous critique of Stalinism), what if the new regime becomes as bad as the old...or worse?
It's a problem Egypt is struggling with right now. Mubarak is gone; long live...?
Here's an article that synopsizes succinctly what some of Olympus's non-Japanese investors fear might be happening with the "clean sweep" of the Olympus board of directors slated to happen in April. They're worried it won't be so clean. Large Japanese banks, wielding power as both creditors and investors, are allegedly trying to stack the board with officers loyal to them. "As far as we're concerned, the Olympus board would then be de-facto creditor-controlled," the principal of Southeastern Asset Management, one of the two largest non-Japanese shareholders of Olympus, told Reuters.
I just found this curious because it's exactly what Greece is worried about, if you've been following that crisis—that it's going to lose its autonomy and become creditor-controlled.
So far, Olympus's camera division is steaming along happily just as if the financial scandal and leadership crisis wasn't happening. But a creditor takeover would make its future even more vulnerable than it already is.
(Makes me more eager to eventually get an E-M5. I'm all about enjoying good things while you still can.)
Michael Woodford, the fired whistleblower CEO who had to give up his bid for a triumphal return when it became clear the big Japanese banks wouldn't support it, told Reuters, "if it is true...then we are going back to the bad old days."
Back to the bad old days. Same old same old. Sweep out the bad...and, possibly, make way for the worse.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.