Sony plans Ericsson buyout, promises more PSN-connected devices

By Steve Watts, Oct 27, 2011 11:30am PDT

After years of courting, Sony has announced plans to buy Ericsson's shares of Sony Ericsson, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. The deal cost 1.05 billion euros (approximately $1.5 billion) for Ericsson's 50% stake in the company. This will allow Sony to assume total control over its smartphone portfolio.

Sony cites the move as a step towards connectivity across multiple platforms. The company has already announced PlayStation Suite, to bring PlayStation content to Android devices. The recently launched Xperia Play was the first PlayStation certified phone, and today's announcement will likely lead to more fully-integrated offerings.

The transaction isn't expected to close until January 2012, and the company is currently measuring its impact on the fiscal year results for the period ending March 31, 2012.

"This acquisition makes sense for Sony and Ericsson, and it will make the difference for consumers, who want to connect with content wherever they are, whenever they want," said Sony chairman and CEO Howard Stringer in the announcement. "With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place. We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment. This includes Sony’s own acclaimed network services, like the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Sony plans to change the brand following the deal, as it focuses on Android phones to combat the iPhone market. Ericsson shares rose 5.2% following the announcement, while Sony rose 5.4%.

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