The great Sony consolidation continues as the Japanese tech giant continues to unload everything it doesn’t absolutely need to stay afloat. One can almost hear Bill Pullman in Spaceballs, shouting into the desert air, “Take only what you need to survive!” Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has taken that philosophy to heart. So far in 2013, Sony has sold massive holdings to get some cash in its pocket. In January, it sold the building that houses its US headquarters in New York City for $1.1 billion, netting a profit of around $685 million in the process. On Thursday, it followed that with the announced sale of its Tokyo headquarters for a cool $1.2 billion. It’s even tightening its belt in gaming. Even as production and development costs rise in the lead up to the release of PlayStation 4, Sony is unloading outside interests, like its stake in mobile and social game maker DeNA.
It was only January that Sony became the second largest shareholder in the company, with a nearly 12 percent stake in DeNA. Now Sony is flipping its shares in the company, selling them wholesale to Nomura Securities for approximately $437 million.
DeNA is not a name most mobile game players in the US recognize on site, but its games and services are another story. Games like Rage of Bahamut, Blood Brothers, and Deity Wars—all of which are free-to-play titles—have ruled over the Android gaming charts over the past two years. Its Mobage gaming platform—think Steam for smartphones and tablets—is a dominating force in Japan. It’s also a major partner of Square-Enix, and while old fans of the Final Fantasy series lament the disappearance of new franchise entries on consoles, Square is pumping out games like Final Fantasy: Airborne Brigade with DeNA. It’s a healthy mobile game company valued over $5 billion.
Sony’s jumping ship isn’t a reflection of DeNA’s overall health. The company is actually doing very well, recording quarterly sales of nearly $678 million and finally turning a profit outside of the US after investing heavily in expanding internationally. The reason Sony is selling now is so it can include that $437 million sale in its earnings for the final quarter of this fiscal year that ends this month.
All of this is very important for PlayStation fans and anyone eagerly anticipating the PS4. With the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita sales dwindling, and revenue for the whole PlayStation division dropping like a stone, Sony needs every cent to keep investors on board during the console transition.
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