Sony moves to end speculation it’s planning to sell its PC business to Lenovo

Tech giant Sony has issued a statement to hose down speculation its planning to sell its loss-making PC business to emerging Chinese tech powerhouse Lenovo.

Over the weekend, Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK, reported Sony is keen to strike a deal with Lenovo that would see the Chinese tech giant take a stake in Sony’s loss-making Vaio PC business.

According to the report, Sony’s PC business has suffered two years of losses, with the move part of a broader restructure underway in the troubled Japanese tech giant.

The report cites a similar joint venture alliance between Lenovo and Japanese electronic electronics giant NEC in the PC market launched in 2011.

Lenovo is currently the world’s largest PC maker, shipping 14.9 million of the 82.6 million PCs sold during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Gartner.

More impressively, despite the PC market shrinking for the seventh consecutive quarter, Lenovo increased its shipments by 6.6% year-on-year from 14 million units, with its global market share growing from 15.8% to 18.8%.

The growth at Lenovo contrasts to year-on-year falls in PC shipment volumes at rivals HP, Acer and Asus.

However, in a statement, while Sony admits it is examining “various options for the [Vaio] PC business”, it denies reports it is in talks with Lenovo.

“A press report on February 1, 2014 stated that Sony is discussing with Lenovo the possible establishment of a joint venture for the PC business.

“As Sony has announced previously, Sony continues to address various options for the PC business, but the press report on a possible PC business alliance between Sony and Lenovo is inaccurate.”

The reports surfaced just days after Lenovo surprised analysts by announcing a deal to purchase smartphone manufacturer Motorola off Google for just $US2.91 billion.

Upon signing the deal with Google, Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing boasted about his company’s ability to rapidly integrate the companies it purchases.

“Lenovo has a proven track record of successfully embracing and strengthening great brands – as we did with IBM’s Think brand – and smoothly and efficiently integrating companies around-the-world.

“I am confident we will be successful with this process, and that our companies will not only maintain our current momentum in the market, but also build a strong foundation for the future.”

Prior to the Motorola deal, Yuanqing expressed an interest in buying embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry.

“We are moving in stages. We are already number two in China. We have begun to expand in emerging countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam or Russia. We will soon set out to conquer the developed countries. Within one to two years, you will find Lenovo smartphones in France!

“As for BlackBerry, a takeover could possibly make sense. But first I have to analyse the market well and understand what is the exact weight of this company.”

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