February 19, 2008 / 4:24 PM / 12 years ago

Sony U.S. shares rise on PS3, Blu-ray optimism

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. shares of Sony Corp (6758.T)(SNE.N) rose as much as 5 percent on Tuesday on optimism about sales of its PlayStation 3 video game consoles and Blu-ray DVD players after Toshiba Corp (6502.T) pulled the plug on its rival HD DVD system.

Sony’s PS3 machine has a built-in Blu-ray disc player, the dominant high-definition home movie disc technology now that Toshiba has conceded defeat.

“We believe Blu-ray’s victory could drive market share gains for the PS3, as we believe consumers will now be more willing to pay up (versus 360) for the standard Blu-ray player,” William Blair analyst Ralph Shackart wrote in a note to clients, referring to Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) rival Xbox 360 game device.

Sony U.S. shares rose to a session high of $47.07 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange before easing to $46.30, up $1.52, or 3.4 percent from the Friday close. On Monday, markets were closed due to the U.S. President’s Day holiday.

Toshiba surrendered in the next-generation home movie war on Tuesday, after losing the support of key movie studios and retailers — most recently, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N). Toshiba said it will aim to end its HD DVD business by the end of next month.

The Blu-ray win means consumers no longer have to choose between rival, incompatible formats and run the risk of being stuck with a 21st century equivalent of Betamax, Sony’s videotape format that lost out to VHS in the 1980s.

Sony shares in Tokyo earlier Tuesday ended up 2.2 percent, spurred by the company’s plans to spend 22 billion yen ($203.5 million) to develop the production technology for making medium to large organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.

Reporting by Franklin Paul; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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