Sony buys Ericsson out of mobile phone venture for $1.49B

After a decade together, one of the mobile industry’s largest remaining joint ventures has come undone. Sony agreed to pay Ericsson $1.49 billion to acquire its 50% share of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

With the long-expected deal finally behind it, Ericsson exits the mobile handset business and can focus on its core infrastructure business. And now as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, the mobile division can make better use of the Sony brand, which has always been stronger in consumer circles.

Sony has some semblance of a renewed opportunity to better integrate its mobile offering with its wide range of consumer electronics. It also gains an IP-cross licensing agreement and ownership of five patent families related to wireless device technology.

“With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place. 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,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s chairman, CEO and president.

“Ten years ago when we formed the joint venture, thereby combining Sony’s consumer products knowledge with Ericsson’s telecommunication technology expertise, it was a perfect match to drive the development of feature phones. Today we take an equally logical step as Sony acquires our stake in Sony Ericsson and makes it a part of its broad range of consumer devices. We will now enhance our focus on enabling connectivity for all devices, using our R&D and industry leading patent portfolio to realize a truly connected world,” said Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson.