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.

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