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Sony CEO: TV business is 'certainly not for sale'

Thursday, 5 Sep 2013 | 12:19 AM ET
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Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai remains committed to the firm's flagging TV business despite recent calls for it to be streamlined, he told CNBC at the IFA electronics show in Berlin Wednesday.

His comments follow pressure in recent months from activist investor Daniel Loeb for Sony to sell up to a fifth of the firm's entertainment assets. Sony formally rejected the offer in early August, arguing that its movie, TV production and music units were integral to its revival strategy.

(Read more: Loeb to 'wait and see' after Sony nixes spin-off)

"Let me first address the TV issue. Well, the TV business is certainly not for sale," Hirai told CNBC.peculation that Sony might sell off this part of the business followed disappointing profits in its TV production division and a series of box office flops.

Declines in the TV business have long been a bugbear for Sony, which was once considered a consumer electronics pioneer, but has fallen from grace over the past decade.

The firm is currently making a push to gain a bigger share of the lucrative smartphone market, where rivals Samsung and Apple dominate.

Matt Clinch | CNBC

At the IFA electronics show in Berlin, Sony launched its latest smartphone - the waterproof Xperia Z1, which has a 5-inch display and a 20.7 megapixel rear-facing camera.

(Read more: Sony unveils Xperia Z1 smartphone at IFA 2013)

"It's a challenging market but we have a winning product," said Hirai. "[What] we've packed into Xperia Z1 is something that's really going to wow customers around the world."

According to research firm Gartner, Sony had a 2.2 percent share of the global mobile market in the second quarter, well below Samsung, Nokia and Apple, which had 24.7 percent, 14 percent and 7.3 percent shares respectively.

Sony CEO: Xperia Z1 will boost bottom line
Wednesday, 4 Sep 2013 | 7:40 PM ET
As Sony unveiled its new smartphone, CEO Kazuo Hirai told Geoff Cutmore in a first on CNBC interview that he expects the Xperia Z-1 to boost Sony's bottom line this fiscal year.

Sony made a net profit of 3.5 billion yen ($35 million) in the April-to-June quarter, compared to a loss of 24.64 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. A 36 percent surge in sales in its mobile products and communications division was integral to the profit jump.

(Read more: Why Sony's profit turnaround may be a 'one-off')

Hirai admitted that he still "had a long way to go" in terms of improving Sony's financials, noting weakness in Europe and some other emerging markets.

"We have our ups and downs but where we're strong... I think we're making some good strides," he added.

The launch of Xperia Z1 coincided with the launch of Samsung's smartwatch - the Galaxy Gear - an accessory to its Galaxy smartphone, with a small screen offering basic functions such as photos, hands-free calls and instant messaging.

—By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie

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