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Sony sells VAIO PC business to Japan Industrial Partners Inc.

by Mark Tyson on 6 February 2014, 09:18

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacahz

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Earlier this week Sony's VAIO PC business was under the spotlight as rumours came and went about the possibility of a Lenovo purchase of this part of the Japanese firm's operations. Sony quickly issued a statement denying any deal with Lenovo. Without any time to take a breath a new rumour emerged that Sony was close to making a deal with a Japanese investment fund - and now that deal has been confirmed. Sony will sell its PC business, currently operated under the VAIO brand, to Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (JIP) it was announced today.

The PC business sale has come about due to Sony "aggressively implementing a reform strategy across its electronics business, as originally announced in April 2012". Sony has been improving both its PC and TV products using its technological strengths and has been trying to bring them back to profitability. However the firm doesn't expect either of these business segments to achieve profitability by the end of its 2013 financial year, ending 31st March 2014.

As mentioned in the intro JIP will be taking over the VAIO PC business while Sony will be "concentrating its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets". The deal, made for an undisclosed sum, is expected to complete in March 2014. Sony informs us that JIP will initially sell VAIO PCs on its home turf of Japan and once its business is optimised it will then consider geographic expansion.

On the TV business side of Sony's operations it has been reducing costs, rationalising R&D and improving operational efficiency. So far this strategy has been paying off with the TV business losses reduced from 147 billion yen in FY11 to 70 billion yen in FY12 and are expected to be approximately 25 billion yen by full-year 2013.

Sony has chosen to accelerate its production of high end TV models and it has done well in this way by holding more than 75 per cent of the Japanese 4K TV market and is number one in the US for 4K TV sales based on revenue. Now Sony has decided to spin off the TV business to make it more efficient and dynamic - to work as a wholly owned subsidiary which is fully accountable for its operations.

So it looks like after the current stocks are dried up we won't be seeing any more VAIO computers in the west for a considerable period of time. Also I wonder what will happen with the VAIO Windows Phone handset which was rumoured to be in the pipeline.



HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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So just imagine if they had all worked together rather than being split up. Out of the box and Sony phone, tablet or computer could wirelessly push a display or sounds to any Sony TV or hifi. Playstation controllers pairing with phones and tablets bringing the mobile gaming experience ‘to the next level’. Music on your Sony computer backed up into the cloud and available on your Sony phone.

Years too late now though…
Wow I wasn't aware of this - and I was a Sony employee until a few months ago! Although it does show that they're undergoing some major transformations in all the business areas (mine was affected too). I'm just not sure where they are going now :/
So it looks like after the current stocks are dried up we won't be seeing any more VAIO computers in the west for a considerable period of time. Also I wonder what will happen with the VAIO Windows Phone handset which was rumoured to be in the pipeline.
Would have thought that the Sony Windows Phone would have been relatively safe - especially if Microsoft is offering cold, hard cash for Sony to do it. Xperia W1 anyone?

Like my (oldish now) Bravia TV. Only downside is that it's not as “smart” as some of the others available from the likes of LG and Samsung - i.e. the remote media playing abilities are hopeless, which is strange when it's refusing to play a file that the Sony Home Theatre system that we bought at the same time is quite happy with. With that proviso though, here's one bloke who'd certainly consider Sony when the time comes to change TV.

Bad news about the Vaio's though - I always thought that while they were expensive, they were also quite stylish too - sort of a Mac competitor. Any chance of any fire sales? (being mercenary)

What about the other parts of Sony, the camera and music device areas - are they safe? Got an old MP4 Walkman (the one with the OLED screen) and while it doesn't do apps, the music and video capabilities make the equivalent iPod Touch look pretty lousy.
Lenovo buying out the IBM PC business did not spell the end of that business and argueably it could be said it got stronger/better.
JIP could do well if they were to bring back the legendary Vaio Z range and perhaps bin the lower priced Vaio ranges. Become the PC version of Apple, preferably without ripping folk off. ;-)