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Reports: Sony Ready To Sell Off Vaio Business

Tokyo — Sony Corp. is reportedly in talks with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell off its Vaio personal computer division, according to reports out of Japan.

The reports, which cited an anonymous source familiar with the matter, said proposals call for a new company to be set up by Japan Industrial Partners to take over the Vaio brand’s operations in Japan.

Sony is also considering a withdrawal from overseas PC markets, Reuters reported.

Nikkei Business Daily said the Vaio PC unit would be sold for up to 50 billion yen ($493 million) and that Sony would retain only a small stake in the new company.

Nikkei added that disposal losses from the sale would cause Sony to show a net loss for the first time in two years for the year ending March 31. Sony is scheduled to issue quarterly results on Thursday.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday that Chinese technology company Lenovo Group was in talks over a possible joint venture to take over Sony’s overseas PC operations.

 But Reuters, citing a source familiar with the matter, said exact terms and financial details were still in the discussion stages.

The move comes as the market for traditional PCs continues to contract as smartphones and tablets grow.

Gartner Research has forecast worldwide PC shipments ship a total 278 million units in 2014, down 7 percent from 2013, as mobile phones move 1.9 billion units, up 5 percent.