Olympus Corporation (オリンパス株式会社Orinpasu Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese manufacturer of optics and reprographyproducts. Olympus was established on 12 October 1919, initially specializing in microscopes and thermometers. Olympus holds roughly a 70-percent share of the global endoscope market, estimated to be worth approximately US$2.5 billion. Its global headquarters are located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.
On 1 April 2011, Michael Woodford, 51, was named president and chief operating officer – the first ever foreigner to hold the position – replacing Kikukawa, who became chairman. Woodford, an Olympus veteran of 30 years, was previously executive managing director of Olympus Medical Systems Europa. Olympus appointed Woodford its CEO six months later, but the board suddenly removed him as chief executive two weeks into the job, while allowing him to retain his board seat.
Woodford alleged that his removal was linked to several prior acquisitions he questioned, particularly the US$2.2 billion deal in 2008 to acquire British medical equipment maker Gyrus Group. Thomson Reuters reported that US$687 million was paid to a middle-man as a success fee – a sum equal to 31% of the purchase price, and which ranks as the highest ever M&A fee. According to the Daily Telegraph, some of the sums paid out relating to the acquisition of a technology company ITX were also under examination. Woodford noted that an article in Japanese financial magazine Facta in July prompted his suspicion of the transactions. Reports also said the company acquired three other Japanese companies outside its core business, and recognised that the assets were worth US$721 million less than their acquisition value 12 months previously.