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Sony Advances After Offering to Buy So-net: Tokyo Mover

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Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., Japan’s largest consumer-electronics company, rose the most in two weeks in Tokyo trading after saying it would buy out So-net Entertainment Corp. to boost its online entertainment business.

Sony climbed 2.7 percent to 947 yen, the biggest gain since July 27. So-net jumped by its daily limit of 70,000 yen, or 21 percent, to 402,000 yen after the 61-billion-yen ($776 million) offer. Sony yesterday said it will pay 567,500 yen for each So-net share. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell 1 percent.

The electronics maker is cutting costs and trying to boost revenue as President Kazuo Hirai tries to revive the company after four straight annual losses. The deal will help Tokyo-based Sony integrate So-net’s online transmission network and boost entertainment services in Japan and the rest of Asia, the company said in the statement.

“Sony should be able to achieve a tax-saving benefit through the use of the group corporation tax system,” Yuji Fujimori, a Tokyo-based analyst at Barclays Plc, said in a report yesterday. “We hope to see swift realization of synergy benefits with So-net, which Sony indicates it wants to retain as an independent business.”

TV Restructuring

So-net owns a 56 percent stake in M3 Inc., which provides medical information to doctors through the Internet. Sony plans to expand its medical business, seeking alliance with Olympus Corp., the world’s biggest endoscope maker. M3 rose 6.5 percent to 442,000 yen.

Sony plans to buy as many as 107,772 shares of So-net by Sept. 20, it said in a statement yesterday. Sony already owns a 45.61 percent stake in the company, while its financial unit holds an additional 12.57 percent, according to the statement.

Hirai, 51, is restructuring Sony’s main TV business and has pledged to revive the company by focusing on game players, digital imaging and mobile devices. The electronics maker is eliminating 6 percent of the company’s workforce.

In February, the maker of Experia phones completed the purchase of Ericsson AB’s 50 percent stake in their 10-year-old mobile-phone venture after agreeing in October to buy it for 1.05 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to integrate the smartphone business with its gaming and tablet offerings.

Sony also sold its stake in a venture with Samsung Electronics Co. to make liquid-crystal displays to the South Korean company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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