Wednesday 9 January 2013, 10:43 | By Chris Cooke
Sony chief insists sale of entertainment assets not on the agenda
The boss of Sony Corp has told delegates at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that selling his company’s entertainment businesses is not on the agenda at all.
There has been much speculation about the Japanese conglom being split up in recent years as Sony Corp tackles various financial woes brought on by a slump in the company’s consumer electronics business, a persistently strong yen and various natural disasters. Kazuo Hirai took over from former Sony chief Howard Stringer last year with a brief to turn round the group’s fortunes.
Although Hirai’s own Sony career has been more on the entertainment side, his focus at the moment is on reclaiming market share for the company’s consumer electronics divisions, and he was at CES to big up new products in that domain, in particular ever higher definition video products, bringing cinema quality film into the home.
Despite the entertainment industry facing its own challenges, the Sony music and movie businesses, mainly headquartered in the US, have been doing alright of late, and some have speculated that they might be split or sold off from the rest of Sony Corp, to provide a cash boost for the parent company, or to ensure the flagging electronics side of the organisation doesn’t hinder the entertainment side.
But Hirai told CES in no uncertain terms “we are not selling” the Sony movie and music businesses. Like his predecessors, Hirai reckons that there is much to be gained by Sony Corp making both the hardware via which consumers access entertainment content, and the content that is consumed, though realising those benefits will require the different Sony businesses to collaborate more, which is something the Sony Corp top guard are always banging on about, though past ‘Sony United’ initiatives have had only limited success.
Though, still, Sony’s strong presence in the movie and music making industries does still arguably give the company’s consumer electronics business an edge over many of its recently more buoyant competitors, even though that advantage hasn’t been particularly well utilised in recent years.