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Sony acquires Ericsson’s stake in handset joint venture

Ericsson and Sony have announced that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s 50 percent stake in Sony Ericsson, making the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.

The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to integrate smartphones into its array of network-connected consumer electronics devices for the benefit of consumers and the growth of its business. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP) cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.

As part of the transaction, Ericsson will receive a cash consideration of EUR 1.05 billion.

During the past ten years the mobile market has shifted focus from simple mobile phones to smartphones that include access to internet services and content. The transaction is a logical strategic step that takes into account the nature of this evolution and its impact on the marketplace.

“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. 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”, said Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s Chairman, CEO and President.

When Sony Ericsson started its operations on October 1, 2001, it combined the unprofitable handset operations from Ericsson and Sony. Following a successful turnaround the company has become a market leader in the development of feature phones.

The transaction, which has been approved by appropriate decision-making bodies of both companies, is expected to close in January 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Ericsson has accounted for its 50 percent share in Sony Ericsson according to the equity method. Following completion of the transaction, Ericsson will have no outstanding guarantees relating to Sony Ericsson and will no longer account for Sony Ericsson as an investment on balance sheet. The transaction will result in a positive capital gain for Ericsson which will be defined after closing of the transaction.

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