Ericsson has announced that it is pulling out the Sony-Ericsson business entirely to concentrate on providing network support, where it is a global leader.
Sony announced weeks ago that it would buy Ericsson out of Sony-Ericsson, but now a statement from both companies has confirmed Sony is buying Ericsson's 50% stake in the Sony-Ericsson handset joint-venture, making the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.
The statement said Ericsson would receive a cash consideration of US$1.46 billion for parting with the shares.
This comes days after Nokia re-launched itself as a smartphone manufacturer.
According to their joint statement, the transaction gives Sony an opportunity to rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronic devices.
The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP) cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
But the statement noted that Ericsson and Sony would continue to work together on developing connectivity across multiple platforms.
Sony's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sir Howard Stringer was quoted as saying "this acquisition makes sense for Sony and Ericsson, and it will make the difference for consumers, who want to connect with content wherever they are, whenever they want. With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place."
He added that "we can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment. This includes Sony's own acclaimed network services, like the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network."
Mr. Stringer also noted that the acquisition will afford Sony operational efficiencies in engineering, network development and marketing, among other areas.
The transaction, which has been approved by appropriate decision-making bodies of both companies, is expected to close in January 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Ericsson recently launched their Africa Regional Support Centre (RSC) in Ghana and stated that their strength was in network support and infrastructure and not necessarily handset manufacturing.
Ghana Country Manager for Ericsson Alan Triggs stated Ericsson is a world leader in network support, with more than 100 corporate clients in Africa alone, comprising mainly telecom operators including almost all the operators in Ghana.