As Sony prepares PCs exit, pressure mounts for reboot on TVs

TOKYO Wed Feb 5, 2014 5:48am EST

A shopper looks at Sony Corp's Vaio PCs at an electronics retail store in Tokyo February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

A shopper looks at Sony Corp's Vaio PCs at an electronics retail store in Tokyo February 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp is in talks with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell its loss-making Vaio personal computer division, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

A new company would be set up by Japan Industrial Partners to take over the Vaio brand's operations in Japan, according to the plan under consideration, the source said. Financial details and stakeholdings in the new entity were still being discussed.

Sony is also considering a withdrawal from overseas PC markets, the source added.

Sales of traditional PCs are slowing as smartphones and tablets gain popularity. Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, down 7 percent from 2013, according to research firm Gartner.

Mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014, a 5 percent increase from 2013, Gartner said.

The Nikkei business daily reported that the Vaio PC unit would be sold for up to 50 billion yen ($493 million) and that Sony would retain only a small stake in the new company.

The sale of the PC business would lead to disposal losses that would push Sony into a net loss for the first time in two years for the year ending March 31, the Nikkei said. The Japanese consumer electronic firm is due to report quarterly results on Thursday.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday that Chinese technology company Lenovo Group was in talks about a possible joint venture to take over Sony's loss-making PC business overseas.

($1 = 101.3950 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Reiji Murai; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Dominic Lau and Richard Pullin)

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Comments (5)
jbeech wrote:
I’m saddened to lean Sony is exiting the laptop business. We have two VAIO laptops and overall, when compared to others we own (HP, Dell, and Gateway), only the HP approximate the quality of the Sony product. Our experience have been superb and their product has always been worth the premium price when it came time to buy. It’s too bad others don’t feel the same, but then again, there’s been zero Dollars devoted to marketing their laptops and it’s generally been entirely up to us to discern the differences when we’re in a Best Buy or CompUSA making another laptop purchase. RIP.

Feb 05, 2014 7:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
RK_France wrote:
Lap Top PC hardware quality needs to improve significantly!

Ironically, most locally assembled desktop PC’s have robust hardware whereas Big Brand laptop PC’s are very often below the mark!

Feb 05, 2014 8:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
RK_France wrote:
Lap Top PC hardware quality needs to improve significantly!

Ironically, most locally assembled desktop PC’s have robust hardware whereas Big Brand laptop PC’s are very often below the mark!

Feb 05, 2014 8:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
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