Sony's Ericsson buyout gets official EU green-light

Sony's Ericsson buyout gets official EU green-light

We saw the first ever Sony-only Xperia smartphones unveiled at CES a few weeks ago, but technically Sony's buyout of Ericsson hadn't actually gone through yet, as it's been waiting for official EU approval.

Well today that's changed, and the deal is officially done. So you can finally tell that pedantic smart**** who keeps piping up whenever you start talking about Sony's new phones to shut it.

There were a good few surprises that hit us during 2011 – Google deciding to buy Motorola, for instance – but Sony buying out Ericsson's half of the decade-long mobile partnership wasn't one of them.

The two did great work in the feature phone arena, but never really got going properly, and with Sony wetting its solo feet in Android waters with the Tablet S and Tablet P, taking full control of SE's smartphone portfolio was an obvious move.

Yet obvious or not, any deal involving $1.47bn changing hands comes with plenty of red tape, especially when the EU is involved, and despite the deal having been announced in October, it's taken a full three months for European regulators to check the deal for hidden trapdoors and other corporate jiggerypokery.

As of late last week, then, Sony is now full owner of the brand that was once Sony Ericsson, taking over all of SE's products and development projects, and more importantly, its catalogue of patents.

Sony has already stated plans for the full brand transition to be finished by mid-year, at which point presumably our minds and the history books will be cleansed of all knowledge that Ericsson ever even existed. A small price to pay for walking away with more than €1bn, we reckon.

In the meantime the new era will kick off with the Sony Xperia S and the Sony Xperia Ion, which are expected out in March and should be gracing the Sony Eri... sorry, the Sony stand at MWC next month.

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