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Sony to keep struggling TV business

Published Thursday, Aug. 04, 2011 06:57AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Sep. 06, 2012 10:21AM EDT

Sony Corp. on Thursday ruled out dumping its television business or dissolving a TV panel partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. in an overhaul of its loss making TV unit that will take shape this month.

The electronics and entertainment giant's second-in-command, Kazuo Hirai, told reporters that televisions were a core business and that the company would consider new partnerships as it reviews the unit.

The conglomerate, which sells products ranging from game consoles to life insurance, is heading for its eighth straight year of losses in the TV business as it struggles to compete with Samsung and other lower-cost Asian rivals.

Mr. Hirai took the helm of Sony's consumer businesses in April and is seen as the most likely candidate to succeed Howard Stringer as chief executive officer.

But he faces the challenge of steering a once iconic technology company now outmanoeuvred in tablets and smart phones by Apple Inc.

Sony has said it would pull together plans to overhaul its TV business this month, and last week it cut its annual TV sales forecast while warning that losses on TVs could widen this year.

Its videogames division could also face trouble after rival Nintendo's latest handheld gadget flopped, forcing a resort to deep price cuts that could hurt sales of Sony's PS Vita.

The PS Vita will go on sale in Japan by the end of the year and in North America and Europe early next year, Mr. Hirai said.