Sony to be Sony Ericsson owner in six months: poll

Fri Oct 7, 2011 11:52am EDT
 
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Analysts see a strong chance that Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony (6758.T: Quote) will succeed in buying out its joint-venture partner in mobile phone handset maker Sony Ericsson in the next half-year for around 10.6 billion Swedish crowns ($1.5 billion).

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday that Sony was in talks with Ericsson (ERICb.ST: Quote) about taking 100 percent control of the world's No.9 handset maker.

The Wall Street Journal had reported talks between the two companies on Thursday.

Both companies declined to comment.

A poll of 12 analysts by Reuters put the chance of a deal within six months at greater than 60 percent. The most skeptical analyst rated the possibility 50/50 and the most optimistic at 90 percent.

The lowest value put on Ericsson's 50 percent share in Sony Ericsson, which built its success on the Walkman and Cybershot phones, was 7 billion crowns, and the highest 15.5 billion.

Analysts have long seen Sony Ericsson, formed in 2001, as a sideline to Ericsson's main business of selling networks and services.

Yet Ericsson has been unwilling to exit, saying it needs end-to-end capability, meaning a text message or voice call from one phone to another might never leave an Ericsson platform.

Analysts say that is no longer necessary.   Continued...

 
<p>Sony Ericsson's smart phones are displayed at an electronics shop in Tokyo October 7, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>