South Korea's Samsung Electronics is open to an alliance with the Japanese camera maker Olympus, potentially joining other electronics firms in circling one of the biggest names in medical equipment.
Samsung's Japanese competitors, Sony and Panasonic, have already shown an interest in Olympus, which needs capital after being swamped by a $1.7bn (£1.1bn) accounting scandal made public in October by ex-chief executive Michael Woodford.
Olympus is best-known for cameras, but the group makes most of its money in healthcare, and dominates the market for gastro-intestinal endoscopes. Samsung has ruled out any interest in Olympus' loss-making camera business, but a company source said it might consider an alliance with Olympus in other areas.
Earlier, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that Olympus was scouting out the electronics industry for a friendly investor to take a minority stake in the company, and had drawn up a shortlist of five potential partners.
The daily, quoting unnamed sources, listed them as Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Japanese medical-equipment firm Terumo Corp, which already has a small stake in Olympus, and endoscope rival Fujifilm Holdings.