Sony Corp. is said to be in talks to sell its battery business unit to the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ) investment fund. This was according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations, speaking under condition of anonymity since the information hasn’t gone public yet.
Sony’s Chief Executive Officer, Kazuo Hirai, stated before that he would be considering alliances for the company’s battery business as he seeks to steer the company to focus on mobile devices like smartphones. The changing of the company’s course is fueled by its losses amounting to $10 billion U.S. dollars as sales of its major products like Bravia TV’s, Playstation gaming consoles, and cameras have gone on a decline in the face of fierce competition from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. According to the source, the INCJ has not yet made an offer for the acquisition. While declining to comment regarding the rumored talks, Simon Hsing, spokesperson for Taiwanese Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has said that the company is interested in working with Japanese businesses. Sony’s Tokyo spokesman, Hiroshi Okubo, refused to give a comment.
Lithium batteries are in large demand worldwide due to their use in smartphones, computers, tablets, and other portable devices. Sony’s battery unit made about 142.5 billion yen ($1.7 billion U.S.) this year. However, Sony’s shares have fallen 34 percent and just last month posted its seventh straight quarterly loss. Fitch Ratings cut the company’s credit rating to junk citing factors such as decline in demand for television sets, the strong yen, and local economic problems.[ via Bloomberg ]