Sony, Ericsson Talk Joint Venture Buyout: Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sony ( SNE) is in talks to buy out Ericsson's ( ERIC) stake in their mobile phone joint venture, according to Reuters, in an effort to unify its product offerings.

The move could help Sony gain in its battle against Apple ( AAPL) and Samsung. Japan's Sony has been hurt by its disparate offerings of mobile gadgets and online content -- tablets, games devices and other consumer electronics are offered under the Sony brand, while smartphones are offered under Sony Ericsson, Reuters noted.

Sony and Ericsson have been talking for weeks about the future of the joint venture. They must decide this month if they will renew their 10-year-old agreement, two industry sources told Reuters.

A source told Reuters that Sony was discussing a buyout.

An analyst at JPMorgan in Tokyo told Reuters the deal could be worth upwards of $1.3 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday the talks between Sony and Ericsson were ongoing and could break up at any time.

Both companies declines to comment on the discussions.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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