Sony announces sale of Vaio business to investment fund

Well, it’s official: Sony is going to sell its Vaio PC business—but despite the rumors, Lenovo won’t be the buyer. According to the official press release posted earlier this morning, Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), a private investment fund, will purchase the Vaio business from Sony and spin it off into a new company. Sony says that it and JIP have "concluded a memorandum of understanding confirming [their] intent" for the sale to go through, and that the deal is expected to conclude by the end of next month.

Once that happens, Sony will "cease planning, design and development of PC products," although manufacturing and sales will apparently continue until after the launch of the company’s spring 2014 PC lineup. Going forward, Sony says it will continue to offer "aftercare customer services" to Vaio users—presumably only those who purchased machines prior to the JIP deal.

As for the Vaio business under JIP’s stewardship, Sony says the firm will undergo a "reevaluation of the product lineup." Following that, the firm will, at least initially, "concentrate on sales of consumer and corporate PCs in the Japanese market." It will also "seek to optimize its sales channels and scale of operations, while evaluating possible further geographic expansion."

The wording of the announcement is a little opaque, but it doesn’t sound like fostering growth in North America will be high up JIP’s list of priorities. The press release doesn’t say anything about withdrawing from non-Japanese markets, though.

Comments closed
    • moose17145
    • 9 years ago

    Most people do not spend money for the business lines for the lenovos and dells. They go to best buy or walmart and get the cheapest pos they can find. For most of the sony’s you just take out the twelve or so screws that hold the bottum chassis on and the entire base plate comes off and you have access to everything without even having to take the keyboard to undo more hidden screws.

    Just about anything in the business lines from any company is designed with a smarter layout than the 300 dollar walmart wonders. Dell takes the cake for stupid layout though with some of their cheaper machines where they mounted the hdd underneath the keyboard and screwed it to the top side of the motherboard itself. Thus requiring you to dismantle the entire laptop to the point of removing the motherboard and EVERYTHING from the machine just to swap the hdd in the event it goes bad. For those machines we charge customers an hour of labor ($80.00) to put a new hdd in the machine just because its such a pain in the @$$.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    Really? I found Sony’s to be esoteric in both repair, and obtaining replacement parts.

    Dell and Lenovo, on the other hand (at least if you were smart enough to buy the business lines, i.e., Latitude and ThinkPad) have generally made sense, and the hardware manuals are even available online.

    I totally agree with you on HP, at least the consumer line; some of that because I saw way too many issues with overheating, pieces that loosened from the mainboard and caused problems (like the CPU fan sensor, thus causing the system to shut down 5-10sec after power on), and lots of other stuff).

    And anything from any vendor that comes encased in glossy plastic is a sign of something to avoid.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting. I always thought Sony VAIO PCs were a JIP, now it seems like they’re proving it

    • BIF
    • 9 years ago

    I still have an old picturebook. Great little machine hampered by old technology and Windows ME.

    And a year or two later, sure enough, some bigwig from Sony was being interviewed and he tried to make it sound good that the Vaio line was a generation or two behind the times because that allowed it to be “accessible to the masses” or something like that. How disappointing.

    • NovusBogus
    • 9 years ago

    Their marketing is too much Braviado and not enough Xperiance.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 9 years ago

    Vaionara!

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    While overpriced/too expensive for me, the Vaio Windows Signature laptop always seemed very appealing. Lets hope quality doesn’t go down the drain with the change of hands. Seems inevitable though.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Being so close after CES where they talked big about their Bravia lineup, I certainly wasn’t expecting Sony to CELL their TV division.

    • moose17145
    • 9 years ago

    Sad. I work at a small computer repair shop, and most of the Sony VAIO laptops were some of the easiest machines to take apart and put back together than I have ever worked on. From the standpoint hardware serviceability, most of the VAIOs are an absolute dream to work on compared to the Toshiba, HP, and some of the Dell garbage that is out there…

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I left a comment in the laptop sales article that has to do with this. It’s really the diversification of form factors that make high volume manufacturing less profitable for those factors losing popularity.

    If sales for mid ATX tower prebuilts drop below a certain level then the factories shut down. This might drive more to the DIY market where expansion is still needed for custom applications.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Sounds like carving it up is the way to go, then.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder if it’s more the case that PCs are retreating to the types of users who bought PCs back in the early 90s, before PCs became “mainstream”. DIYers fall in that category, but there are other users in that category, too (and Lenovo appears to be doing just fine targeting those folks with pre-built computers).

    • heinsj24
    • 9 years ago

    I worked for Sony Vaio Direct when those were introduced. Through the years Sony Vaio Direct was one of the worst jobs I had. Who hires technicians for sales anyways?

    • TravelMug
    • 9 years ago

    PCG-505 forever! 🙂 That machine was a beauty.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    It was unaVAIOable.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    And prebuilt PCs continue their death spiral into oblivion.

    Long live the DIYers!!!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Sony has had a mess of a devices division on their hands for the last 10 years. PlayStation being their only really successful business. But they let the PSP zap so much energy with a HORRIBLY fumbled product and services design from the get go.

    PSP seems to lumber on detracting from sony’s competency and relevance, while sony outright produces xpreia plays to compete with their own mobile platform….

    Sony is one of those massive entities seems to exist simply to exist, with no binding corporate ethos to compel consumer to BELIEVE in them and their products/services…

    Beyond their PS4 console and affiliated services how do they upkeep a future when they are withdrawing from CRUCIAL markets. As if its not enough that they offer a thousand competing products to their own key platforms… Sony’s message to the world, “We just don’t know what to believe in or what future to bet on so we shotgun it.”

    Not creating confidence in the international markets there big guy.

    • cynan
    • 9 years ago

    Apparently Sony’s most profitable business is selling insurance in the Japanese markets. After that comes media (Sony Entertainment). Electronics don’t seem to be making Sony much, if any, money these days.

    Though I would think that might be changing in the digital photography sector, as recently, Sony has become a powerhouse in high end digital sensors.

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks for being the VAIOce of reason. No one needs to take these posts perSonyly.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    ha ha, sony baloney! well, it didn’t surprise me. they tried to become a top brand, but failed. maybe if their pc’s ran OSX, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    VAIOlence is not the answer.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 9 years ago

    Excellente!

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    The two of you should be VAIOlated…

    • curtisb
    • 9 years ago

    They got JIP’ed.

    • Narishma
    • 9 years ago

    They have also spun-off the TV division into it’s own subsidiary to stop it leaching the profits the other divisions make, and either become profitable on it’s own, or get sold off like the PC division.

    • NeoForever
    • 9 years ago

    It was unVAIOdable.

    • Goofus Maximus
    • 9 years ago

    I guess this is the equivalent of selling your car to a junkyard. They’ll make their money by selling the pieces and melting down the scrap for recycling…

    At least, that’s the only reason I can come up with for a freaking Investment Fund to sink money into a Main-Street business rather than a Wall-Street concern.

    In the end, Sony just couldn’t VAIOlate the laws of economics…

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Making a profit in those businesses seems at least as hard as making a profit in the PC business.

    I kind of have the impression that the whole of Sony is less than the sum of its parts. Maybe management should just sell all the parts off and return whatever cash they can get to shareholders.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    I guess their PC division was just economically unVAIOble…

    • balanarahul
    • 9 years ago

    So. Does this mean better TVs and Xperias???

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 9 years ago

    ROFLMAO….good one!

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    Vaio con Dios!

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