Ericsson sells its Sony Ericsson stake to Sony
STOCKHOLM (AP) - LM Ericsson and Sony Corp. announced Thursday they will go separate ways as Ericsson sells its 50 percent stake in mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson to Sony for euro1.05 billion ($1.46 billion).
Sony Ericsson will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony and integrated into Sony’s platform of network-connected consumer electronics products, the Japanese company and Swedish wireless equipment firm said.
The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to integrate smartphones with consumer electronics devices, such as tablets, televisions and personal computers, the companies said.
“I believe this improves the outlook for Sony Ericsson, because Sony can take full responsibility for the company and use the unique things that they have,” said Greger Johansson, an analyst with research firm Redeye. “The opportunity to integrate the phones with their other products improves.”
He said the price Ericsson received wasn’t great, but it will be a relief for the Swedish company to be able to focus on its core wireless equipment business and offload the mobile phone maker that has taken up a lot of management time.
In recent years it has suffered from the competitive climate in the smartphone market and earlier this month it posted a break-even third quarter result.
The company adopted Google’s Android operating system for its smartphones in 2008, and has said it now controls about 11 percent of the Android-based smartphone market. Its Android-based Xperia smartphones account for more than 80 percent of its sales.
Thursday’s deal will provide Sony with an intellectual property cross-licensing agreement, covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
“We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment,” Sony CEO, Sir Howard Stringer said, adding this includes Sony’s PlayStation Network and its online provider of music, games and video, Sony Entertainment Network.
Stringer called the deal “the last piece of the puzzle” for Sony’s portfolio of entertainment products, including movies, television and music and said it’s no coincidence the deal was announced in the same month as the launch of the Sony Entertainment network.