Sony are nearing a buyout of its JV partner Sony Ericisson, say reports. The full takeover of the half European owned phones giant would see Sony coughing up millions to Telefon AB L.M. to seize full control over operations, which it currently owns a 50% stake in.
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Sony and Swedish owned Ericsson share a 50-50 joint venture after the duo combined forces in 2001, making it the 6th largest phonemaker in the world.
However, no word yet on how much Sony would pay for total control, although analysts estimate Ericsson’s stake may be worth anything from US$1.3 billion to $1.7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The deal, if its goes ahead, would also be a sure sign of the Japanese giant’s interest in making major gains in the smartphone market and mobile computing, most recently unveiling two Android tablets in IFA Berlin.
To date, SE’s core business has been a dab hand at producing low end mobiles, similar to Nokia and whether it can break into the high end market dominated by the like of iPhone, Samsung and BlackBerry is another matter entirely.
However, its Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray has been dubbed an iPhone contender by SmartHouse reviewer.
However, Sony Ericisson’s fortunes have been on the slide of late, with phone sales slumping 32.1% to US $1.7bn in its first fiscal first quarter to June 30, which it attributed to a decline in basic feature phones demand as consumers love affairs with smartphones intensifies.
Howard Stringer’s firm now hopes to integrate fully its new smartphones into its other computing devices, including Android tabs as well as PlayStation consoles, and Viao laptops, for synchronicity and in order to develop a viable eco system, reports suggest.
The parent companies have had previous discussions about a possible takeover over the years, although comments by Sony Ericisson’s Chief Bert Nordberg last week hinted in Sony’s favour, saying it has “more in common” with Sony than Ericsson.
Neither Sony nor Ericisson have made any offical comment although Stringer earlier this year did say the buyout did make sense and was on the cards.
“We talk a lot about this and we continue to talk,” he said.