There has been a lot of information and speculation in various posts about the status of Synta, Celestron, Sunny and Meade. I thought it made sense to create a new thread to capture all this in one place. Let me start off..
Suzhou Synta is a company based in Jiansu, China that makes telescopes and equipment. It was formed in 1992 as a subsidiary of Synta Corporation of Taoyuan, Taiwan. It appears that Synta Corporation itself dissolved in the past year or so. Thus going forward, "Synta" really means Suzhou Synta. The company is owned primarily by Dar-Tson Shen, his sister Sylvia Shen and other family members, many of whom live in British Columbia. The company purchased Celestron in 2005. It also owns the Sky-Watcher brand of telescopes and has manufactured items for Orion and Tasco.
Ningbo Sunny Electronics is a company based in Ningbo, China as a subsidiary of the large Sunny Optical company, itself registered as a holding company in the Cayman Islands. Ningbo Sunny acquired the Meade company in 2013. There are strong connections between Ningbo Sunny and Synta. Until 2005, Dar-Tson Shen owned 26% of Ningbo Sunny and was Vice Chairman. He relinquished his Vice Chairman role in 2005 and transferred his 26% ownership to his sister-in-law, Dong Yun Xue.
The history here is interesting. When Celestron was for sale in 2002, Meade attempted to purchase it. The Federal Trade Commission in the US effectively blocked that sale, with the consequence that Celestron was acquired by Sunny (who was already making telescopes for Celestron at its Chinese subsidiary.) The US authorities made clear that it would view consolidated ownership of Meade and Celestron as anti-competitive.
A recent lawsuit was made by Optronics Technologies (Orion) alleging that Synta (Celestron) and Ningbo Sunny (Meade) conspired to get around the antitrust issues by having Ningbo Sunny acquire Meade, while behind the scenes Synta would help fund that acquisition, provide leadership for the new Meade owners, and agree to divide up the market for "recreational" telescopes between them. The Orion suit was against both Synta and Ningbo Sunny. Synta decided to settle, giving Orion $500,000 for terminating its lawsuit. Ningbo Sunny went to court -- and lost big. The jury awarded Orion $16.8 million in damages which then was trebled in accordance with US antitrust law to $50.4 million. You can read the court filing here. (It makes fascinating reading. You won't believe what these companies put in email traffic. No wonder Synta decided to quickly settle.)
Now there is a class-action lawsuit in the US against Synta and Ningbo Sunny underway arguing that purchasers of telescopes in the US were harmed by inflated prices. A similar class-action lawsuit has started in Canada.
Here is where we are with these companies:
Ningbo Sunny in December 2019 filed for bankruptcy for its Meade subsidiary under Chapter 11, which seeks to protect the organization as a going concern. There are rumors that they are looking for a buyer.
Synta Corporation of Taiwan seems have been dissolved in 2019, which still leaves Suzhou Synta of China, still controlled by the Shen family, many of whom live in Canada. Suzhou Synta and its sister companies still own Celestron and Sky-Watcher. They escaped serious consequences from the Orion lawsuit by settling, but still may be affected by the class-action suits underway.