Sony may be one of the world’s largest electronics companies, but it’s Vaio computers have never grown to be the market leader Sony intended them to be and has recently resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Thus, for the second time in a year, the company is attempting to find a buyer for Vaio.
Sony introduced Vaio 18 years ago, pushing the brand as a high-end multimedia device for design-minded consumers. While the company was correct in predicting the future direction of personal computing, its high-priced computers were soon undercut by less-expensive machines from new entrants into the market.
But the company muscled on, continuing to keep the Vaio brand alive for nearly two decades. However, as consumers increasingly turn to smartphones and tablets to replace home computers, Sony has been hit hard by the overall drop in PC sales, losing an estimated $300 million last year on the Vaio business.
And so Sony has been attempting to unload its PC brand on a handful of potential buyers. In 2013, a deal to hand off Vaio to Chinese electronics company Lenovo — who previously purchased IBM’s PC business and recently agreed to take Motorola off Google’s hands — never materialized.
The Wall Street Journal reports that is now in talks to sell Vaio to Japan Industrial Partners Inc., a fund that specializes in turnarounds, for somewhere between $400 million and $500 million.
PC sales currently account for around 10% of all Sony’s electronics sales, bringing in nearly $5 billion a year, but at a loss for the company. Perhaps someone else can revamp the Vaio brand and make it profitable.
Sony in Talks to Sell PC Operations [WSJ.com]