Sony Sells Stake in Video Game Maker for $150 Million

Despite the sale of Square Enix stock, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai is expected to announce a big annual loss next month

The sale of its share in Square Enix is part of Sony's financial restructuring as it struggles to get its accounts back into the black.

TOKYO – Sony is selling its 8.25 percent stake in video game maker Square Enix for $150 million (¥15.3 billion) as part of its ongoing disposal of non-core assets, with the entertainment to electronics conglomerate battling to get back to profitability.

Sony expects to bank a profit on the sale of $47 million (¥4.8 billion) in the first quarter (April to July) of its current financial year. The shares will be bought by Japanese broker SMBC Nikko Securities, which is expected to sell them on to investors.

Results for the last financial year will be announced May 14, with Sony predicting another large loss, two years after Kaz Hirai took over the helm from Howard Stringer.

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Tokyo-headquartered Square Enix is the company behind titles such as the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, which are huge sellers in Japan, as well as the owner of Taito Corporation, creator of the iconic Space Invaders game. Sony has held a stake in the company since 2001, originally in Square, before the merger with Enix.  

The sales of the shares is part of Sony's financial restructuring, and not a sign that the company is shifting away from the game market, a spokesperson from Sony Computer Entertainment's Tokyo headquarters told The Hollywood Reporter, emphasizing that Sony would continue to work with Square Enix as a partner.

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The PlayStation 4 (PS4) console has been exceeding expectations since its launch late last year, having shifted more than seven million units globally by early this month, while PS4 software title sales have passed the 20 million mark.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair