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List of acquisitions by Sony Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sony Corporation (commonly referred to as Sony) (Japanese: ソニー株式会社, Sonī Kabushiki Kaisha) (TYO: 6758) is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, and one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

As of March 2010, Sony Corporation has made 92 acquisitions while taking stakes at 56 companies. The company has 83 divestitures since 1983.

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  • ✪ Nestlé: 150 Years of Food Industry Dominance
  • ✪ Red Bull: The Real Story Behind the Can
  • ✪ Intel: The Godfather of Modern Computers
  • ✪ eBay: the Rise and Fall of the E-commerce Giant
  • ✪ AT&T: The Company Behind the Telephone


We live in the most plentiful times known to mankind. Whereas in the past our ancestors had to spend most of their waking hours tirelessly working for their food, today we are just one click away from an endless slew of delicious goodness. It might seem strange, then, to discover that today, when the choice of brands couldn’t be higher, the companies behind the food industry have never been so few. That’s why today we’ll be taking a look at the world’s largest food company, Nestle. The year is 1866, and two entrepreneurs on the opposite sides of Switzerland were getting ready to start their own companies. The man on the right was Charles Page, a former US consul who had fallen in love with Switzerland’s green meadows and fat cows. His dream was to build a condensed milk factory, hoping to mimic the success of the first such factory in the world built ten years earlier by Gail Borden in the US. Charles had previously sent his brother George to that factory to try to learn more about Borden’s method, which involved evaporating the water in the milk and adding sugar. Together the brothers founded the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, with the hope of becoming the British Empire’s primary supplier of canned milk. At the same time, 100 miles southwest of the Page brothers lived Henri Nestle, a German immigrant with an equally fervent passion for dairy products. As one of fourteen children in the Nestle family, Henri was painfully aware of the high infant mortality rate across Europe. To help solve the problem, Henri spent several years developing an affordable breast milk substitute by combining milk with grain and sugar. From 1867 onwards, Henri’s Farine Lactée became indispensable to Swiss society. By 1871, his infant formula was sold throughout Western Europe, with his factory churning out over 1,000 cans every day. Just two years later, Henri was selling over 2,000. In 1877, however, a new competitor rose up to challenge Nestle. While Henri was earning pennies selling his infant formula in Western Europe, the Page brothers had made a fortune selling their condensed milk across the world. They had become the primary supplier of the British Empire, as they had originally intended, but by 1877 they had also spread to the US and Continental Europe. Eager to expand their business, the Page brothers started selling their own infant formula. To Henri, this was declaration of war, and so he promptly released Nestle-branded condensed milk in retaliation, starting a relentless price war that would rage on for almost 30 years. Although both companies grew during this period, competition hurt their bottom line immensely. Henri and the Page brothers were proud men and were unwilling to concede, but by 1905, when all three of them were dead, the directors of the two companies agreed to a merger. The newly created company had a total of 20 factories and over the next decade Nestle would spread to every inhabited continent. The advent of World War 1 seemed advantageous at first, since the world’s militaries knew how valuable canned milk would be. Pretty soon, however, Nestle realized that they would have no way to service this new demand: Raw material shortages and international embargoes left Nestle’s 20 factories empty. In response, Nestle started buying factories in the US, drastically expanding their production and cozying up to Uncle Sam. By 1917 Nestle’s capacity had doubled to 40 factories, and by 1921 it had doubled again to 80. World War 1 had taught Nestle a valuable lesson: don’t keep your eggs in one basket. Throughout the thirties, Nestle opened factories in Asia and Latin America, so that when the next war came around they’d be ready. Coincidentally, this decentralization kept Nestle safe from the Great Depression and allowed them to develop one of their most renowned products: Nescafe. The idea for Nescafe came from the Brazilian government, which wanted Nestle to find a use for their immense coffee surplus. The Brazilians had suggested making coffee cubes, but Nestle eventually decided to make a soluble powder instead. Nescafe hit the US shelves in 1938 with minimal advertising, and yet one year later it had become one of the most popular coffee products in the country. To Nestle, the outbreak of World War 2 felt like a deja vu. At first demand grew rapidly, but the sheer scale of the global destruction left Nestle with huge supply shortages. Nestle’s saving grace came in 1941, when the US formally entered the war. Nescafe became a staple of the armed forces and government contracts propelled Nestle to record profits. World War 2 ended up being so profitable for Nestle that they immediately started buying up the smaller European companies that weren’t so lucky. Their best purchase by far came in 1947, when they acquired Maggi, the manufacturer of various soups and seasonings. One year later, Nestle unveil two other brilliant products: Nestea and Nesquik, which quickly reach Nescafe levels of popularity. Throughout the next decades Nestle expanded mainly through acquisitions, entering various new markets, from frozen food to pharmaceuticals. One of their most successful moves came in 1974, when they acquired a 30% stake in the French cosmetics firm L’Oreal. Just three years later, however, Nestle were faced with their first major controversy. US activists accused Nestle of using predatory marketing tactics to promote their breastfeeding substitutes in the developing world. The boycott quickly spread to Europe, and although Nestle eventually complied with the demands set forth by the World Health Organization, the boycott has been intermittently active to this day. Nestle’s expansion continued throughout the 1980s, buying up brands like Friskies, KitKat and After Eight. During this time they also created Nespresso system. In 1992 Nestle decided to go all in on mineral water, establishing what eventually became the world’s largest bottled water company. Since then their brand ownership has grown exponentially, but so too have their controversies. In 2002 Nestle demanded debt repayment from Ethiopia during one of the harshest famines in recent memory, eventually backing down after over 8,000 angry email complaints. In 2005 the CEO of Nestle claimed that people shouldn’t have a right to water, a claim that backfired so profusely that Nestle have a Q&A webpage dedicated to his apologies and backtracking. Last but not least is the cocoa industry, which is the bedrock of Nestle’s chocolate products and is also, coincidentally, one of the global centers of child labor, slavery and human trafficking. Despite the numerous lawsuits and calls for boycott, however, Nestle has become bigger than ever, owning over 2,000 different brands across the world. Since people are unlikely to give up on Nestle’s delicious goodies any time soon, it’s safe to say that Nestle will continue expanding in the future. Thanks for watching and a big thank you to all of our supporters on Patreon! If you liked Nestle’s story feel free to subscribe for more and to check out the full Behind the Business playlist for the interesting stories of other companies. One again, thanks a lot for watching, and as always: stay smart.



Acquisition date Company Business Country Value Used as / Integrated with References
4 February 1982 Music Center Incorporated Professional audio  USA Sony Professional Products [1]
5 January 1988 CBS Records Group Music  USA $2,000,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [2]
29 September 1989 Guber-Peters Entertainment Movies/Television  USA $200,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [3][4]
8 November 1989 Columbia Pictures Entertainment Movies/Television  USA $3,400,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [5]
21 May 1993 Psygnosis Limited Video Game  UK SCE Studio Liverpool [6]
December 2000 Eidetic Games Video Game  USA Sony Bend [7]
22 January 2001 Naughty Dog Video Game  USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [8]
9 July 2002 Acuff-Rose Music Music Publishing  USA $157,000,000 Sony/ATV [9]
7 August 2002 Incognito Entertainment Video Games  USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [10]
27 September 2002 Aiwa Electronics  JPN Sony Electronics [11]
7 December 2005 Guerrilla Games Video Game  NED Sony Interactive Entertainment [12]
25 January 2006 Zipper Interactive Video Game  USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [13]
23 August 2006 Grouper Networks Video On Demand  USA $65,000,000 Crackle [14]
30 May 2007 Famous Music Music publishing  USA $370,000,000 Sony/ATV [15][16]
15 May 2007 Sigil Games Online Inc Video Game  USA Sony Online Entertainment [17]
20 September 2007 Evolution Studios Video Game  UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [18]
20 September 2007 Bigbig Studios Video Game  UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [18]
2 July 2008 Gracenote Media Management  USA $260,000,000 [19][20]
28 January 2010 Convergent Media Systems Corporation Video Integration  USA [21]
10 February 2010 iCyt Mission Technology flow cytometers  USA [22]
2 March 2010 Media Molecule Video Game  UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [23][24]
28 February 2011 Toshiba chip plant Electronics  JPN ¥53,000,000,000 Sony Electronics [25]
7 March 2011 Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd Electronics  UK Sony Electronics [26]
2 August 2011 Sucker Punch Productions Video Game  USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [27]
28 September 2011 Micronics, Inc. Microfluidics-based diagnostic tools  USA Sony Corporation of America [28]
16 February 2012 Sony Ericsson Electronics  USA SWE $1,500,000,000 Sony Electronics [29]
2 July 2012 Gaikai Cloud gaming  USA $380,000,000 Sony Interactive Entertainment [30]
9 August 2012 So-net Information and communication  JPN Sony [31]
23 August 2012 Left Bank Pictures Film and television production  USA Sony Pictures Television [32]
12 September 2012 Pixim Electronics  USA Sony Electronics [33]
15 August 2014 CSC Media Group Television  UK $180,000,000 Sony Pictures Television [34][35]
24 August 2015 Century Media Records Music  GER $20,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [36]
8 October 2015 Softkinetic Electronics  BEL Sony Electronics [37]
6 December 2015 Toshiba image sensor Electronics  JPN $155,000,000 Sony Electronics [38]
26 January 2016 Altair Semiconductor Electronics  ISR $212,000,000 Sony Electronics [39]
16 February 2016 Plumbee Games/Television  UK Sony Pictures Entertainment [40]
2 August 2016 eSATURNUS NV Clinical Video  BEL Sony [41]
10 August 2016 Ministry Of Sound Music  UK Sony Music [42]
31 August 2016 Ten Sports Television  IND $385,000,000 Sony Pictures Network [43]
22 May 2018 EMI Music Publishing music publishing  UK $2.3 billion Sony/ATV Music Publishing [44]


Date Company Stake Business Country Value References
27 October 1997 ST Liquid Crystal Display Corporation 50% LCD  JPN [45]
1 October 2001 Sony Ericsson 50% Mobile Phones  JPN SWE $250,000,000 [46][47]
8 October 2001 Square Enix 18.6%/currently 0% Video Game  JPN ¥14,900,000,000 [48][49]
26 April 2004 S-LCD 50% minus 1 share LCD  JPN KOR [50]
8 April 2005 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 20% Movies/Television  USA $4,800,000,000 [51]
8 December 2009 Fearnet minority Video On Demand  USA [52][53]
6 March 2007 Cellius 49% Video Game  JPN [54]
2 April 2007 Field Emission Technologies Inc. 33.5% Field Emission Display  JPN [55]
14 November 2007 Moversa GmbH 50% Small Card Applications  JPN NED [56]
1 July 2009 Sharp Display Corporation 7.04% LCD Panels and Modules  JPN [57][58]
8 December 2009 Vevo minority Video On Demand  USA [59][60]
14 June 2012 Multi Screen Media majority Television  IND $271,000,000 [61]
21 June 2012 unnamed joint venture with Sumitomo Electric Electronics  Japan [62]
25 June 2012 unnamed joint venture with Panasonic OLED  JPN [63]
28 June 2012 Chemical Products Businesses of Development Bank of Japan Chemical industry  JPN [64][65]
29 June 2012 EMI Music Publishing 30% Music  USA UK $2,200,000,000 [66]
8 July 2015 IMS Internet Media Services majority Digital marketing and communications  USA [67]
16 March 2016 Fable Pictures minority Television  UK [68]
7 April 2016 Planet TV majority Television  TUR [69]
7 June 2016 Blueprint Pictures minority Television  UK [70]
27 October 2017 Funimation majority Film/Television  USA


Date Acquirer Target company Target business Acquirer country Value References
5 December 2008 Sony Sony NEC Optiarc Sony Optiarc  Japan [71]
1 January 2011 Samsung Electronics Transcorp. Company Samsung Transcorp. Company  Indonesia [citation needed]
14 February 2011 Sony Media Nusantara Citra Sony MNC Networks  Indonesia [citation needed]
1 October 2008 Sony Sony BMG Sony Music Entertainment  Japan $1,200,000,000 [72][73][74]
20 February 2008 Toshiba Cell Chip Factory Cell chip factory  Japan ¥90,000,000,000 [75]


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