Sony Sells Its Square Enix Shares
The collaboration that brought us some of the greatest video games of all-time has officially come to an end. In need of cash and apparently no longer seeing any tangible benefit to the arrangement, Sony has sold off its 9.5 million shares of Japanese game publisher Square Enix for a reported $150 million.
The sale of the shares will result in Sony realizing a one-time gain on sale of the investment of approximately $48 million in its Q1 2015 financial statements.
Their previous ownership stake in Square Enix represented a reported 8.25% ownership share in the Japanese publisher who is best known for their Final Fantasy series. That made Sony the third-largest shareholder in Square Enix at the time of sale.
Sony’s relationship with Square Enix dates back to the 1990s when Sony signed an exclusivity deal with Square to develop and release games solely on the PlayStation. That’s how we ended up with every console Square game on the PlayStation. That deal covered every Final Fantasy from VII to XII. After the Square Enix merger, the company found a work around to get Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles onto the GameCube.
Sony first invested in Square in 2001 when they bought an 18.6% share in the publisher. After the failure of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie, Square approached Sony for the injection of money into the company so they would appear healthier during merger negotiations with Enix. That merger went through in 2003.
Currently, Sony is going through a major corporate restructuring in the face of a massive loss for their 2014 fiscal year. Estimates in February pegged the loss at $1.1 billion. A little bit of money from the stock sale certainly wouldn’t hurt things for Sony.
The PlayStation division is one of few bright points of the company with the PlayStation 4 well outpacing Sony’s projections for the console’s sales during the fiscal year. Sony’s projections pegged sales at 5 million units sold by March 31, 2014, but the latest figures begged units sold at over 7 million units.