Sony plans buying Ericsson out of phone JV

Sony plans buying Ericsson out of phone JV

The move could help Sony recoup ground in the battle against Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics, where it has been hampered by a disjointed strategy regarding mobile gadgets and online content. Tablets, games devices and other consumer electronics are offered by Sony, while smartphones come from Sony Ericsson. Sony and Sweden’s Telefon AB LM Ericsson have been talking for weeks about the future of the 50:50 joint venture because the companies must decide this month whether to renew their 10-year-old pact, sources told Reuters.

Sony was discussing a buyout, sources said.  Should any buyout go ahead, Sony will need to take steps to protect itself from legal challenges to its patents. Thus far the joint venture has been protected from the kind of court room challenges seen by rivals because Ericsson, world's largest mobile telecom gear maker, holds one of the largest patent portfolios in the industry. The Wall Street Journal said the talks between the two companies were ongoing and could break up at any time, citing people familiar with the matter.

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