Sony is in talks to sell its struggling PC business, with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners reportedly considering picking it up for 50bn yen (£301m).
The potential deal involves Japan Industrial Partners forming a new company to take on Sony’s PC business, and giving the electronics giant a small stake in the new company.
The comparatively modest purchase price would force Sony into declaring a net loss for the first time in two years when it reports its financial results for the current year. But it would, at least, help to slim down the product profile of a company that operates in more technology sectors than it can adequately manage.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported over the weekend that Sony has also been in talks with Lenovo over the sale of its Vaio brand to the Beijing-based PC maker. Sony has since declared the report inaccurate, but has added that it is looking at “possibilities” for the Vaio brand in particular. Lenovo has, as yet, remained silent on the matter.
Sony has also admitted that the Vaio product strategy needs revising as it continues to compete with the mobile market, but has not admitted whether this is to fatten up the brand for an individual sale, or to sweeten the PC deal with Japan Industrial Partners.
Sony produced PCs purely for the Japanese market through the 1980s, but the company withdrew from the computer market around 1990. The Vaio brand was seen as a global comeback, with the first Vaio PC – the PCV series – shipping in 1996.
However, Sony has struggled to produce competitively priced Vaio PCs and was also caught out by the popularity of netbooks and tablet computers.