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Sony Corp announces new priorities, music amongst them

By | Published on Thursday 19 February 2015

Sony Corp

In a bid to convince investors that the company is now in slow (or maybe not so slow) recovery mode, Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai yesterday announced another raft of changes which will see the focus put on the group’s more profitable businesses, and further restructuring, starting with the spinning off of ‘audio and video’ into a separate wholly-owned subsidiary.

Sony Corp has been surrounded by doom and gloom for years now of course, having lost the lead in numerous strands of the consumer electronics business, traditionally the company’s cash cow. And Hirai has been busy trying to turn around the firm’s fortunes, and get it back into profit, ever since he became CEO in 2012.

Amongst previous decisions well received by investors were selling off the company’s flagging PC unit and then spinning off its struggling television set making division into a separate business. There are some similarities in the new plans, in that Harai seems keen to protect those areas of the business that are doing well from those that are faltering.

Noted as good performers by the Sony CEO are music, gaming and the firm’s imaging technologies, with Harai seemingly keen to invest in further growing these areas of the corporation. Meanwhile Sony’s smartphone and TV manufacturing businesses are not a priority, with Reuters quoting Harai as admitting he could not “rule out considering an exit strategy” in these areas.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the spinning off of the Sony units that make cameras and music players, amongst other things, into a standalone but wholly owned subsidiary will take place later this year. Further spin-offs could then follow, which might ultimately include making the firm’s entertainment business even more autonomous than it already is, something that was previously proposed, of course, by the firm’s vocal (and now former) investor Daniel Loeb.

Though his plan was to spin-off the Sony music and movie business so to float part of it in order to generate new investment. Hirai’s proposals so far seem to suggest Sony will keep complete control of its spun-off entities.