Sony is looking to buy Telephon AB L.M. Ericsson's 50 percent share of the Sony Ericsson joint venture, according to a Wall Street Journal report. This move would allow Sony to consolidate product lines and bring the handset and tablet divisions under one roof. Recent collaborations between Sony proper and Sony Ericsson have resulted in the gaming-focused Xperia Play.
According to the paper's sources, the move would let Sony cut costs and streamline mobile development by putting its smartphone and tablet/gaming businesses under one roof.
The Sony Ericsson joint venture dates back to 2001, with the first products launching in 2002. Feature phones were a company strength, but in the current market, even Sony's CEO, Howard Stringer, is unsure the venture still makes sense, saying earlier this year, "We talk a lot about this, and we continue to talk."
Buying out Ericsson would not be Sony's first step toward integrating the phone business with its existing brands. The electronics giant recently introduced the PlayStation line to the mobile space with initiatives like the PlayStation Suite and PlayStation Certified program.
Sony's stock price has taken a hit on the news with nearly a 4 percent drop from $19.12 at the end of trading on Thursday to $18.41 as of press time.