Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. agreed to acquire its 50 percent stake in its 10-year-old mobile-phone venture with Ericsson AB from the Swedish partner.
Ericsson will get 1.05 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in cash for its stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB,, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement today. The transaction, subject to authority approvals, will probably be completed in January 2012, it said.
Sony has been reviewing the 50-50 partnership because the business has become more important for Japan’s largest exporter of consumer electronics with demand for smartphones and computers surging, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month. Full control of the venture would add smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android system to Sony’s device business, while freeing Ericsson to concentrate on sales of wireless transmission equipment and services.
Sony Ericsson already makes a smartphone with a slideout gaming keyboard that works like the Japanese company’s Playstation game system and runs many of the same titles.
Ericsson and Sony set up the venture on Oct. 1, 2001, giving themselves five years to dethrone Nokia Oyj as the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker. Sony Ericsson’s market share slid to 1.7 percent in the second quarter from 3 percent a year earlier. It shipped 7.6 million handsets in the second quarter.
Sony Corp. rose 5.4 percent to 1,650 yen in Tokyo trading. Ericsson fell 0.4 percent to 66.70 kronor on the Stockholm exchange yesterday.
--Editors: Kenneth Wong, Simon Thiel
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