updated 08:17 pm EST, Tue November 27, 2012
Sony continues restructuring in effort to narrow focus
At least three investment banks have approached Sony with a plan to help the Japanese electronics giant sell off its battery business in order to recenter its focus on core assets and shore up its moribund consumer electronics segment. This according to sources within the banks, who say that the sale of Sony's battery unit could help Sony generate cash, much as was the case when the company sold a chemical business earlier this year. Sony has promised to refocus on games and consumer electronics in order to recover after being surpassed by rivals such as Apple and Samsung.
Sony is in the midst of cutting staff across its operations in order to reduce costs. The sale of its battery division, which employs 2,700 people and had sales of $1.74 billion last year according to Reuters, is viewed by the investment banks as a way to help the company shed size and exit sectors in which it may not be able to compete strongly.
Sony has struggled to compete with South Korean companies in the battery sector, estimated to be worth about $18 billion per year. From July to September of this year, Sony produced 74 million lithium-ion battery cells, down 40 percent from the first quarter of 2008. The company now has a seven percent market share in the battery segment, compared with 27 percent for Samsung, 21 percent for Panasonic, and 17 percent for LG Chem.