Sony Corp. is pulling out of its LCD manufacturing partnership with Samsung, the company announced today. Samsung will pay $939 million for Sony’s share. The S-LCD joint venture was set up in 2004. The move is expected to save Sony about $640 million a year and will allow it to buy LCD panels from other makers at competitive prices. Sony originally invested to ensure a steady supply of LCD panels for its TVs during a periond of shortages. Samsung has surpassed Sony to as the No. 1 seller of TVs. LG is No. 2, Sony is No. 3. Sony’s TV manufacturing operation has lost money for seven straight years. Sony’s movie and TV studio business remains in the black, but the company overall has forecast its fourth straight annual loss. Analysts believe shedding the LCD manufacturing stake is a good move that should allow Sony CEO Howard Stringer to concentrate on turning around Sony’s TV manufacturing business. Stringer previously announced $8.4 billion in acquisitions to bolster profits on mobile phones. Sony still faces a steep uphill battle with its tablet computers designed to compete with Apple’s iPad.
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