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Sony is approached to sell its battery business

Looks to cash in
Wed Nov 28 2012, 13:59
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JAPANESE ELECTRONICS GIANT Sony has been approached by three investment banks to sell its battery business in order to generate funds.

Sony, like its Japanese rivals Sharp and Panasonic, has suffered badly at the hands of Chinese and Korean rivals and now the firm is looking to offload assets in order to generate cash and cut expenses. The firm has been approached by at least three investment banks to offload its battery business.

Sony's battery business, which makes batteries for smartphones, computers and perhaps soon vehicles as well, employs 2,700 people and had sales of $1.74bn last year. Reuters reports that three people involved in the discussions have said the firm could offload the business in order to cut costs and generate cash that it needs to restructure its operations.

Sony has already cut 10,000 jobs and shuttered a number of plants but the firm's battery operations go a long way back. The firm set up Sony Energy Devices Corp back in 1975 and in recent times the firm even mooted making batteries for hybrid vehicles, which is seen as a market that has considerable growth potential.

One of Reuters' source said, "The battery business is a prime example of the company's loss-making and unwanted assets. It doesn't make sense for them to keep it." The comments, given the growing market for batteries in consumer electronics, highlight Sony's inability to compete with rivals from Korea and China on price.

Sony needs to raise cash in order to fund investment in its core businesses with the firm looking to invest in gaming, digital imaging and mobile devices. For Sony, the irony should it sell its battery division would be that all three of those device categories rely on batteries. µ


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