The lights are on
Sony’s most recently closed fiscal year (ended March 31, 2014) was a financially trying one for the company. In February, the company warned of a $1.1 billion loss for the period, which was followed by layoffs and closures in the United States and abroad (including the profitable games division).
Today, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. has announced it will sell all 9.52 million shares of Square Enix stock it is currently holding. The deal was struck with brokerage firm SMBC Nikko Securities and will see a net cash infusion of approximately ¥4.8 billion ($47.1 million). Based on current trading value, Sony's stake in Square Enix is worth approximately $157.8 million.
The exact transfer price will be published on April 17. Sony will include the capital gains in its earnings projection for 2014, which will be announced on May 14 in conjunction with its full-year 2013 results.
[Source: Sony via Siliconera]
Our TakeThere are two sides to this transaction. Sony needs the cash, and this will help buoy the finances a bit. However, it could also be seen as a sign of no-confidence in the Final Fantasy publisher. That company has been struggling due to extremely large budgets that simply can’t be recuperated with sales (as evidenced by labeling strong sellers in 2013 as “underperformers.”)
The good news is that, internally, things might be getting back on track. Final Fantasy XIV has performed well, and Square-Enix has touted the success of Bravely Default in the west (though seemed surprised by sales). Square-Enix must get a handle on what regional audiences want.