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Ericsson to sell its stake in Sony Ericsson, Sony becoming the sole owner

Ericsson to sell its stake in Sony Ericsson, Sony becoming the sole owner
Ericsson has announced that it's selling its part of the joint Swedish-Japanese venture Sony Ericsson for $1.47 billion (1.05 billion euros). The Japanese Sony Corporation will become the sole owner of the phone maker in an attempt to boost its mobile portfolio.

"Sony will acquire Ericsson's 50 per cent stake in Sony Ericsson... making the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony," Ericsson said. The decision has already passed approval of both companies' boards, but it's, of course, yet to pass regulatory approval by January 2012. The deal evaluates the whole of Sony Ericsson at around $3.0 billion, almost four times less than what Google paid to acquire Motorola Mobility.

SE will be integrated into Sony's network-connected consumer products, but quite importantly Sony will also get a huge patent portfolio including five key wireless phone patent families via a cross-licensing agreement.

Earlier, a well positioned Sony executive said that SE is a key partner in Sony's attempt to put more of its products, including games on mobile devices. It all seems logical, as the new handsets could easily make use of Sony's broad Playstation gaming portfolio. SE itself has moved in that direction by launching the PS-certified Sony Ericsson Xperia Play.

Ericsson is receiving the $1.47 billion for its 50% share in the JV, which was set up back in 2001. It all started on a high note with a series of stylish phones with color displays such as the Sony Ericsson T68i, but the company also released a couple of high-end big screened models in the P series – a rarity at the time. Around 2003 and a couple of years later, the company switched focus to its strong camera-centric K series. 

In the middle of the first decade of the new millenium, Sony Ericsson treated us with its music series – the Walkman phones, which were also greeted warmly. Around that time, the smartphone race really picked up and the company couldn't catch up. It became more evident with the launch of the iPhone which caught the company off guard. Chief executive Bert Nordberg admitted: "It's safe to say that Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived in 2007." 

Most recently, Sony Ericsson has said that it will switch its focus to smartphones alone. The phone maker accounts for 11% of all Androids and its latest offerings in the high-end Xperia series include the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S and the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V.

source: Ericsson


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