Multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation (SNE) is a dominating force in the world of consumer electronics, entertainment, and telecommunications. As such, it is hard to imagine the company’s humble post-World War II beginnings. Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita founded the Tokyo electronics shop that would become the Sony Corporation with little more than $500 and a handful of employees. With an eye on the American market, the entrepreneurs developed two innovative products for the time—a tape recorder and a transistor radio.
The company has come a long way since then, making a series of strategic acquisitions that have helped boost its position as a behemoth in the corporate world. Read on to find out more about the top four companies owned by Sony and how they help contribute to its financial success.
- Sony is a leader in consumer electronics, entertainment, and telecommunications.
- Sony Mobile Communications was launched in 2012 following the end of a 10-year joint venture with Ericsson.
- Sony purchased Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion in 1989.
- CBS Record Group, part of Sony Music Entertainment, was acquired by 1988 for $2 billion.
- Sony purchased gaming and cloud company Gaikai in 2012 for $380 million primarily for its talent pool and gaming rights.
The corporation posted 955.3 billion Japanese yen in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, or approximately $8.27 billion USD. The company's top operating segment is its Games & Network Services division, mainly consisting of the PlayStation brand. This segment has the highest revenue at 341.7 billion Japanese yen. The company's Music and Financial Services divisions followed, with revenue totaling 184.8 and 154.8 billion yen.
Sony's market capitalization as of October 2021.
Sony Mobile was created in 2011 when Sony decided to go its own way in the mobile phone business at the end of a 10-year joint venture with the venerable Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson (ERIC).
Sony Mobile has sought to compete directly against Apple with its Xperia line of handsets, with limited success. After years of struggle, the division turned a profit of about $254 million in its fiscal year 2020. In late October 2021, it reported a year-over-year increase of 25% in sales revenue
The company posted operating revenue of 358.6 billion Japanese yen, or approximately $3.1 billion USD, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.
Columbia Pictures Entertainment
Columbia Pictures began operating in 1918 as a small movie production studio compared to the leading Hollywood studios of the day. During the late 1920s and beyond, the studio experienced rapid growth and thrived financially as a result of its association with legendary movie director Frank Capra.
Over the next 50 years, Columbia Pictures entered into television, merging and splitting numerous times with industry players such as Screen Gems and Warner Bros. Coca-Cola purchased Columbia Pictures in 1982 for $750 million and sold it to Sony in 1989 for $3.4 billion in an all-cash deal. The acquisition made Sony a major player in American motion pictures.
Sony initially recorded more than $2 billion in losses as a result of the purchase. However, blockbusters such as the "The Da Vinci Code" and franchises such as "Spider-Man," "Men in Black," and "James Bond" eventually earned Columbia Pictures more than $4 billion worldwide. Columbia Pictures is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which recorded over 757.6 billion Japanese yen, or about $6.6 billion USD, in revenue in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.
CBS Record Group
Just like Columbia Pictures, CBS Record Group had a long history in American entertainment. Founded in 1929, it was first known as the American Record Corporation. At that time, the enterprise specialized in the rights management, manufacturing, and distribution of recorded music. Columbia Broadcasting System acquired the American Record Corporation in 1938 but only had the right to use the word Columbia in North America. To expand its business worldwide, executives renamed the company CBS Records.
Sony initiated its CBS Records acquisition in 1988 for $2 billion. At the time, CBS Records was the world's most successful music company. As a result of the buyout, Sony renamed CBS Records as Sony Music Entertainment and reintroduced the Columbia brand. Contracts with music industry powerhouses such as Clive Davis, Michael Jackson, and Beyoncé helped Sony Music Entertainment earn annual revenues surpassing $3.8 billion.
Founded by David Perry, Rui Pereira, and Andrew Gault in 2008, Gaikai develops video games and cloud-based gaming technology. The company's innovative systems allow players to stream games embedded with advertising at no cost and don't require players to purchase ad-free versions. Gaikai's Share Play feature allows players in multiple locations to play games together.
Sony purchased Gaikai in 2012 for $380 million. Just like other corporations that buy gaming development companies, Sony acquired Gaikai to access its talent pool and exclusive rights to games for its bestselling PlayStation gaming console. The company's tech is responsible for Sony's PlayStation Now cloud gaming platform.