Sony said Thursday it will acquire Ericsson's 50 percent share in their Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture, turning the company into a subsidiary in January 2012.
The Tokyo-based electronics maker said in a press release it will pay Ericsson €1.05 billion (US$1.5 billion) in the deal, which includes several sets of related patents and a cross-licensing agreement for intellectual property.
Sony has until now launched its smartphones through the joint venture, which began operations in 1981. The deal will allow it to integrate phones into its overall product lineup, as rivals such as Apple and Samsung do now, and better leverage its broad music and movie holdings.
"During the past ten years the mobile market has shifted focus from simple mobile phones to rich smartphones that include access to internet services and content. The transaction is a logical strategic step that takes into account the nature of this evolution and its impact on the marketplace," Sony said in its release.
The tie-up helped turn around the ailing phone businesses of both companies, by leveraging well-known Sony brands into phone models such as the Walkman and Cyber-shot series.
The joint company has recently released its advanced phones under the Xperia brand, and Sony has expanded its streaming networks and game download services to work on the Android-driven devices.
Sony said the deal will allow it to include phones into its "four-screen strategy," which aims to offer content and interconnect smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions.
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