Sony-Olympus deal gets regulatory approval

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Sony-Olympus deal gets regulatory approval
A joint-venture deal between Sony and Olympus has won regulatory approval, the firms said Wednesday, after it was held up by China's competition watchdog.

"Olympus and Sony Wednesday announced that the two parties recently received all necessary regulatory approvals and now expect to establish the medical business venture company on April 16, 2013," a statement said.

Sony and Olympus had initially planned the launch of a joint venture from April 1 as Sony, which is trying to repair a dented balance sheet, invests 50 billion yen ($535 million) in Olympus as part of a drive to tap the lucrative medical equipment market.

Although it is better known by the public for its cameras, Olympus controls about 70 percent of the global market for medical endoscopes.

Olympus, which is recovering from a huge accounting scandal, said in a joint statement with Sony last week that the deal first announced in September was held up over approvals from an unspecified authority.

Both firms declined to elaborate but sources confirmed to AFP that the hold-up was linked to Chinese regulators.

The issue comes at a time when Tokyo and Beijing are embroiled in a tense territorial dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea, which sparked protests in China and a consumer boycott of Japanese goods.

Regulatory delays involving other Japanese firms have also been linked to delays from Chinese watchdogs as well, including Japanese advertising firm Dentsu's now-completed $4.8 billion takeover of Britain's Aegis media group.

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