As we covered (or more specifically didn’t cover) at NAB 2024 this year, one of the biggest stories was simply what wasn’t being said by Nikon or RED Digital Cinema about the former’s acquisition of the latter. This news, of Nikon acquiring RED Digital Cinema, has the potential to be the biggest shakeup in the camera industry ever.

Yet, so far, we haven’t gotten many details from either company besides a few generic statements reaffirming that nothing should change for either in the immediate future.

However, there’s obviously still more to this story to unearth. And while we’re still anxiously awaiting more details about what new cameras might eventually come out of this deal, we’re also quite shocked to learn the cost of the acquisition—while of course quite high for us regular folk—is perhaps lower than one might think for companies of their sizes.

Nikon Acquires RED for $85 Million

According to reporting done by PetaPixel, who did a thorough look into the deal, it sounds like the grand total for Nikon’s acquisition of RED Digital Cinema was ¥13,167,000,000, which is roughly equivalent to $85 million USD.

These numbers were pulled from Nikon’s 2023-2024 financial filing and show that this prize was for 100% of the company, which of course includes all of RED’s patents and camera development technologies—which would perhaps be the most valuable parts of this deal.

There’s Always More to the Story

If you do feel like that $85 million price seems low, it’s admittedly hard to put an exact figure on RED’s worth. However, as usual for major acquisitions like this, there’s of course more to the story.

At the time of the acquisition officially being announced, Nikon and RED were already involved in a legal dispute with RED suing Nikon for allegedly copying its data compression technology. And, in speaking with PetaPixel, it certainly sounds like this lawsuit was a part of their eventual negotiation process for the acquisition.

“Due to the lawsuit, we had an opportunity to understand and learn more about RED itself and RED’s history, and we had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Jim. We also recognized that the professional digital cinema market is huge and covers many areas, and since the Z 8 and Z 9 launches we see a growing market in the creator area.” — Hiroyuki Ikegami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Imaging Business Unit at Nikon (via PetaPixel)

Once Nikon got an inside look at RED during this legal battle, it seems like they were convinced it would make more sense to just acquire RED outright, rather than go through what could have been a costly process.

The Future of RED and Nikon

Still, as more of the dust settles, we’re again back at square one wondering what’s going to ultimately happen to these two brands. With more context about this lawsuit being perhaps a bigger part of the negotiation than was shared before, it would of course make sense that data compression technology is a core part of the deal.

This would lend itself to Nikon, perhaps quite quickly, making use of RED’s data compression tech in current or new cameras here soon. However, beyond that, it’s all speculation that—while quite fun to dream about—will only be revealed by the companies themselves here in the next months or years.