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Sony confirms the sale of its Vaio PC business

We’d already heard that Sony was in talks to offload its Vaio personal computer business, and that sale has been confirmed today.

As we reported yesterday, Sony was negotiating the sale with the Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) investment fund, and those talks have come to fruition with an agreement to purchase.

Sony is getting shot of the Vaio line of premium laptops due to the global and pronounced downturn in computer sales, and the company noted it wanted to focus on smartphones and tablets rather than PCs.

Sony already has its Xperia line of handsets on the Android front, which have seen some critical acclaim, and whispers abound of a Windows Phone model in the pipeline.

An agreement for the sale should be finalised by the close of March, and The Verge reports that the deal should go through by July, all being well. The exact price hasn’t been disclosed, although yesterday’s speculation put it at 40 billion yen (£300 million).

Once JIP has the Vaio brand, its initial strategy will be to market both consumer and corporate PCs in the Japanese market, before looking to expand globally.

On the subject of staff, Sony issued a press statement which said: “Approximately 250 to 300 Sony Corporation and Sony EMCS Corporation employees involved in PC operations, including planning, design, development, manufacturing and sales, are expected to be hired by the new company established by JIP.”

As for the remaining employees, Sony is promising to attempt to transfer as many as possible to other divisions within the Sony Group – otherwise the offer on the table will be an “early retirement support program” to assist in getting a new job at another company.