NEW YORK — According to Japan's financial newspaper Nikkei, Sony is reportedly negotiating the terms of a deal to sell its Vaio PC unit to an investment fund called Japan Industrial Partners.
The news comes as the PC market continues to face poor results due to the rise of mobile, and Sony, stuck with a range of legacy products, scrambles to find its market advantage. The Nikkei report stated that the amount of the transaction could be up to 50 billion yen (US$490 million).
The potential deal under discussion, reportedly, would create a new company established by the fund that would own the business, and Sony would have a small stake in that company. According to Nikkei, the sale of the business would lead to disposal losses that could put Sony in a position of net loss for the first time in two years.
Sony, earlier this week, denied reports that it plans to sell Vaio to Chinese OEM Lenovo. The Japanese company, however, also acknowledged that it plans to revise its strategy for Vaio by looking at various options.
Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst for Tirias Research, told us that there are a whole host of reasons for Sony to sell Vaio. He noted:
The PC market is shrinking; the margins are razor thin; Sony's PC brand image has slipped in recent years; Sony is not a leader in the market; [and] like other high-tech companies that have fallen from market leadership, Sony needs to retrench and focus on the products and markets that it can become a dominant player [in].
McGregor made it clear that Sony no longer has any reasons to hold on to the PC business. He continued:
The PC is no longer the magnet platform for new technology on applications. When it was, it was worth being in PCs just to be working with the latest technology. The magnet platforms are now in mobile and servers. The best option is to sell the group to another PC vendor and hopefully minimize the expenses of doing so. I'm sure that there are a few Chinese or other Asian vendors that may be interested in acquiring Sony's PC group.
McGregor identified the investment fund possibly looking to purchase the business as a "Japanese private equity firm that obviously sees some value in the group if they can get it for the right price."