Sony ends panel joint venture with rival Sharp


Sony Corp. Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato speaks during a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Sony Corp. racked up a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in its fourth straight year of red ink as the once-glorious maker of the Walkman and PlayStation struggles toward a turnaround under a new president. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO — Sony Corp. is ending its joint venture with rival electronics maker Sharp Corp. to produce and sell large liquid-crystal displays for TVs — part of its new strategy to buy panels rather than invest in manufacturing them.

Sony said Thursday it will sell back to the joint venture Sharp Display Products Corp. all 7 percent of the stake it has held since 2009. Sony won’t lose any money as it will receive 10 billion yen ($126 million), the same as what it paid for shares in the Sharp subsidiary, which produces panels in Sakai city, western Japan.

Tokyo-based Sony, which makes the Walkman portable player and PlayStation 3 game machine, recently also ended its joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co. to produce flat panels.

Sony said in March it will not raise its stake in Sharp Display Products as initially planned. Thursday’s move completes the pullout.

Sony has bled money for eight straight years in its core TV business, bashed by competition from Samsung and other Asian rivals.

Sony had a glamorous TV business when people were still buying fatter cathode-ray tube sets, and fell behind when rivals, and consumers, switched to flat-panels.

The decision to get out of panel-making comes as Sony seeks a turnaround under President Kazuo Hirai, appointed in February.

Sony officials say the company will simply start buying panels from manufacturers at good prices, and focus on Sony’s own imaging and other technology to differentiate its TVs from rivals.

Sony racked up a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in its fourth straight year of red ink for the fiscal year ended March. It is projecting a return to profit this fiscal year.

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  • ferds

    Sony products are so expensive, they never build any manufacturing plant in the country, so i didn’t buy one of their products.   its better to buy Panasonic and Samsung, they have plants here and giving lot jobs to the pilipinos. 

  • Iggy Ramirez

    Sony does not really reign in any of the mainstream appliances as their product is mediocre at best.

    When it comes to Plasma TV, Panasonic reigns supreme.
    When it comes to LED, Samsung and Sharp take the lead. Yes, sony has its pull but their products are not as revolutionary.
    When it comes to home theater system, Onkyo is now raking in the pie as its audio quality is much better than any other mainstream players. It can also be competitive when it comes to audiophile grade products.

    When it comes to gaming, yes, Sony is indisputably the King. It would take several more years before PS3 becomes antiquated. What technology could possibly replace bluray?

  • pogsnet

    Sony was too slow to accept innovation that makes then lag behind with the rivals.

  • WeAry_Bat

    Sony is another (mis)management case study.  What had been an innovation leader is now trying to find a differentiation among competitors, meaning it is nowhere ahead of the pack.

    DRM rootkit: in its attempts to stop copying of music, it would not be beholden to consumer rights, akin to the insolent, impudent and arrogant nature of Renato Corona.  Despite being caught, it still persisted until the lawsuits became numerous.

    I think the company will survive due to its Playstation product.  But Wii was a pretty close shot to its market, with Xbox Kinect slowly eating up sales.  All it now takes is for another, revolutionary and popular gaming product to wipe Sony off the gaming table, as has been in lifestyle and leisure.

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