STOCKHOLM: Sony Corp is to buy full control of the Sony Ericsson mobile phone venture from Ericsson, both partners said on Thursday, as it seeks to catch up smartphone rivals such as Apple Inc while boosting its consumer products range.
Ericsson is to receive 1.05 billion euros ($1.45 billion) in cash for its 50 percent share of the venture, which was set up in 2001. It initially thrived with an array of camera and music phones, but later lost out in the smartphone race.
"We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment," Sony Chairman and Chief Executive Sir Howard Stringer said in a statement.
The deal provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP) cross-licensing agreement covering all the Japanese company's products and services, and ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
A buyout by Sony had long been talked of, and a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters this month that a deal was in the offing.
The move could help Sony recoup ground in the battle against Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics, where it has been hampered by a disjointed strategy regarding mobile gadgets and online content.
Tablets, games devices and other consumer electronics are offered by Sony, while smartphones come from Sony Ericsson.
"This acquisition makes sense for Sony and Ericsson, and it will make the difference for consumers, who want to connect with content wherever they are, whenever they want," Stringer added.