Sony Computer Entertainment has sold off all of its Square Enix shares. The multimedia conglomerate has unloaded 9.52 million shares from the Tokyo-based video game developer, the publisher of the “Final Fantasy” series and owner of Redwood City, Calif.-based Crystal Dynamics and the London, England-based Beautiful Games Studios.
Sony will gain $48 million as a result of this, though the Japan-based electronic empire gave no specific reason for the transaction.
Over the past few years, Sony has been cutting costs by closing retail stores, selling buildings, laying off employees and eliminating game studios. The brand is also selling its TV department and PC business.
Despite the high sales of its next-gen PlayStation 4, the well-known brand’s shares were reduced to “Junk” status in late January by Moody’s Investor Service, an NYC-based bond credit rating business.
“While Sony has made progress in its restructuring and benefits from continued profitability in several of its business segments, it still faces challenges to improve and stabilize its overall profitability and, in the near term, to achieve a profile that Moody’s views as consistent with an investment grade rating,” Moody’s announced in a statement earlier this year.
Sony is comprised of two divisions – Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE), which primarily focuses on games, entertainment, electronics and financial services, and the Sony Group, which consists of Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Financial Holdings and more.
Sony was ranked No. 87 on the 2012 Fortune Global 500. It was founded in 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo and renamed Sony in 1958. It launched the first PlayStation console in 1994. The device gained an impressive 61 percent of global console sales and broke gaming giant Nintendo’s lead in the electronic entertainment marketplace. The PlayStation 2 hit shelves in 2000 and has sold more than 150 million units as of 2011.
The PlayStation 4 launched Nov. 15 last year and recently hit 7 million in sales, while Microsoft’s Xbox One struggles to keep up in sales.