Sony will buy out mobile phone venture partner Ericsson's 50 percent stake for 1.05 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in cash, Sony said Thursday, bringing the Xperia Play mobile gaming platform in-house.
The deal makes the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, the company said, and gives Sony full control over a business that resides in a rapidly-evolving marketplace.
"The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices -- including tablets, televisions and personal computers -- for the benefit of consumers and the growth of its business," the company said in a statement.
Sony CEO Howard Stringer said that by taking control of the mobile business, the company can more easily leverage mobile into other aspects of Sony's own networked businesses, including PlayStation.
"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," Stringer said. "This includes Sony’s own acclaimed network services, like the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network."
Sony Ericsson in May this year launched the Xperia Play, an Android-based, PlayStation-certified mobile phone that sports a slide-out PlayStation game pad.
The buyout also grants 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."
Sony called the deal -- which was rumored earlier this month
-- a "logical strategic step," as smartphones continue to proliferate the evolving mobile marketplace.