(Likely not indicative of prosperous times or bright futures for either party.)
“Sony To Sell Off All 9.5 Million Shares Of Square Enix Stock” (source: gameinformer.com)
Sony’s most recently closed fiscal year (ended March 31, 2014) was a financially trying one for the company. In February, the company warned of a $1.1 billion loss for the period, which was followed by layoffs and closures in the United States and abroad (including the profitable games division).
Today, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. has announced it will sell all 9.52 million shares of Square Enix stock it is currently holding. The deal was struck with brokerage firm SMBC Nikko Securities and will see a net cash infusion of approximately ¥4.8 billion ($47.1 million). Based on current trading value, Sony’s stake in Square Enix is worth approximately $157.8 million.
They were non-voting shares worth around $160 Million. It was an asset that literally did nothing for Sony. The ownership stake didn’t stop Square-Enix moving Dragon Quest exclusively to Nintendo platforms, or prevent MS from buying a bunch of exclusive JRPGs for the 360 last gen. With no reason to believe the stock price will increase much any time soon Sony might as well get that money out and put the profit on the books. I imagine this would have happened sooner but it probably isn’t easy to find a buyer for that much stock at once for a fair price.
For those who don’t remember, the investment dates back to 2001 when the Final Fantasy movie bombed so badly SquareSoft was crippled financially. Sony bought about an 18% stake for $120M to keep Square making games. When the merger with Enix happened that reduced Sony’s overall stake to about 8.5%.