Sony selling PC business, reforming TV unit, and laying off 5,000 people

PlayStation maker to sell VAIO business to Japan Industrial Partners and spin off TV business to be run as wholly owned subsidiary.

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PlayStation maker Sony today revealed drastic changes to its PC and TV businesses, and announced plans to lay off 5,000 employees around the world. First, Sony announced that it will sell its VAIO PC brand to Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (JIP), meaning the company will no longer plan, design, and develop any PC products.

The decision to leave PC behind and instead focus on its mobile product lineup was made after a "comprehensive analysis of factors," Sony said, including the "drastic changes" in the global PC industry and Sony's overall business portfolio and strategy. Sony and JIP expect to complete the sale by the end of March 2014.

Regarding changes to Sony's TV division, the most dramatic news is that Sony will spin off its TV business and operate it as a wholly owned subsidiary. This transition, aiming to help Sony "further enhance its TV business' profit," is expected to be complete by July 2014.

The newly formed TV unit will "shift its product mix" to focus on sales from high-end TV models in the upcoming year. This includes strengthening Sony's 4K lineup, while also bolstering the company's 2K models. For emerging markets, Sony said it will develop and launch models "tailored to specific local needs," though no other details on this initiative were provided.

As a result of these major changes to Sony's PC and TV businesses, the company announced that it expects to lay off 5,000 people by the end of the fiscal year. This includes 1,500 in Japan and 3,500 overseas.

This news comes from Sony's latest earnings report, which was released today. We'll have more from the report soon, including data concerning the PlayStation business.

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