Sony mulls battery business sale–report

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TOKYO – Sony is in talks with suitors including Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision over the sale of its battery business, a report said Thursday, as the Japanese firm tries to repair its dented balance sheet.

Sony, which in June announced the sale of its chemical division, was eyeing the sale to focus on core businesses, including its videogames unit, as it battles fierce overseas competition, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Hon Hai – which makes Apple gadgets in China and has been in separate talks over an investment in Sony rival Sharp – is among the prospective buyers, as well as Japanese and foreign investment funds, the Nikkei said.

Sony may also hold on to part of its battery business while selling off a stake in the division, which makes lithium ion batteries found in a range of consumer electronics, including mobile phones and computers, the report said.

“It is true that we are considering reviewing batteries and other businesses unrelated to our core electronics businesses, but we have nothing concrete so far,” a Sony spokesman told AFP in response to the Nikkei report.

Sony, which expects to eke out a small annual profit after four years in the red, became the first company in the world to widely commercialise lithium ion batteries in the early nineties.

However, its global market share has more than halved from over 14 percent in 2008 to 6.9 percent in the April-June quarter this year as it runs up against competition from rising South Korean rivals, the Nikkei said.

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