Report: Sony Unloading Vaio PC Business, Lenovo Interested?Report: Sony Unloading Vaio PC Business, Lenovo Interested?
Sony is talking with a Japanese investment fund to take over its Vaio PC business and the unit's staff of 1,000 for as much as $490 million, according to a report in The Nikkei.
February 5, 2014
The Japanese consumer electronics maker has been selling Vaio notebooks since 1996, but its worldwide market share has slipped noticeably of late and the unit is said to be losing money. Sony wants to divest itself from PCs in favor of concentrating on its smartphone business and is willing to let the operation go for a price in the range of $390 million to $490 million, the report said.
Sony recently was said to be planning a smartphone based on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone mobile operating system, in a major sidestep away from the Google (GOOG) Android platform on which its Xperia line runs.
While The Nikkei account said Tokyo-based turnaround specialist Japanese Industrial Partners is the primary suitor for Sony’s PC business, a report in China’s Beijing News said PC giant Lenovo also was involved in the negotiations. However, Sony reportedly has denied Lenovo is a possible buyer.
Sony is said to be mulling over a deal with the investment firm that will enable it to retain a small stake in the company, which would continue to sell PCs under the Vaio brand and handle post-sale service. Sony would pull back its operations in geographies outside of its native Japan, although it could maintain business in markets where the brand already is well-known, the report said.
According to The Nikkei report, the parties are mulling over whether Sony’s PC site in Nagano Prefecture will continue to handle research and development and production should the sale go through.
Selling its PC business could push Sony into a net loss for the quarter ending March 31, The Nikkei said. Sony is scheduled to report quarterly results Feb. 6.
In August, Sony Mobile announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs, about 15 percent of its workforce, in a move company officials said would reduce costs, save operations money and help ratchet up smartphone product development and marketing.
The layoffs are slated to run through March 2014.
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