Canon now holds 84% of Swedish network video surveillance company Axis

Japanese imaging giant Canon Inc yesterday announced that it now holds 84 per cent of the shares in Swedish network video surveillance technologies company Axis AB, and added that it will not extend the acceptance period beyond 5 May 2015.

The Tokyo-based camera maker had in February struck a friendly deal to acquire Axis for approximately 23.6 billion Swedish kronor ($2.8 billion) in an all-cash transaction aiming to expand into fast growing video surveillance market. (See: Canon acquires Swedish network surveillance leader Axis for $2.8 bn)

The offer price represented around 50-per cent premium to Axis closing price of 226.9 kronor on Nasdaq Stockholm on 9 February, and about 36 per cent more than the stock's highest price ever quoted since its listing, which was 250.8 kronor on 29 November 2013.

The takeover bid is contingent upon Canon taking on more than 90 per cent of the company's shares.

Three of its largest shareholders Inter Indu AB, LMK Industri AB and Aktiebolag Granspecialisten, who hold a combined 39.5-per cent stake in the company, had agreed to accept the offer.

According to professional services firm Deloitte, the offer price was considered as fair from a financial perspective.

But just a week after the offer was tabled, Hedge fund Elliott Management had raised its stake in Axis to 10.1 per cent, effectively trying to block the takeover and thereby putting pressure on Canon to sweeten its takeover bid.

Canon yesterday extended the offer period to 5 May and said that it would not raise its offer price of 340 kronor per share.

Axis, founded in 1984, was the first company in the world to introduce a network camera and is a global leader in providing network video surveillance equipment for shopping malls, airports, casinos, banks and prisons.

The company has around 1,940 employees in more than 40 countries, supported by a network of over 75,000 partners across 179 countries.

For 2014, the company reported sales of $654 million with a net profit of $65 million.

Under sagging sales of its cameras due to growing penetration of high-tech smartphones with high-quality digital cameras, the global camera giant is looking to diversify its business in other high-growth areas.

The video surveillance system market has been growing rapidly in recent years, and Canon, which already makes surveillance cameras for offices and public institutions, believes that it is a promising area that can drive future growth.

The combination of Canon's excellent optical and imaging technologies and Axis's outstanding network image processing technology will enable them to offer innovative sophisticated network video solutions.

On completion of the deal, Axis will continue to be separate legal entity within the Canon group and will be led by its current president and CEO Ray Mauritsson and his management team with the company's offices and development centres remaining in their current locations.