Sony set to buy Ericsson out of mobile venture

SHARES in telecoms group Ericsson jumped almost six per cent yesterday after reports claimed that Japanese technology group Sony was close to buying it out of their mobile phone handset joint venture.

Sony is keen to take control of the business to combine Sony Ericsson’s mobile phone technology with its own tablet computer and PSP gaming handset operations

The news, reported in the Wall Street Journal, highlights how important the multi-platform smartphone has become to consumers.

Both firms had agreed to review the 50-50 joint venture after ten years. That deadline comes up this month and both sides have been talking for weeks about whether to extend it, according to sources.

Both sides declined to comment on the reported talks. “We have a long-term commitment to our joint ventures,” an Ericsson spokesman said.

Analysts say Sony needs to assert control over Sony Ericsson if the venture is to recoup market share in the cut-throat world of smartphones.

The venture thrived with its Walkman music phones and Cybershot camera phones, but has lost market share to rivals such as Apple.