This article appears in Issue 783 (June 12) of The Edge Singapore which is on sale now

(June 13): Remember Sony? It was not too long ago that the languishing Japanese consumer electronics brand owner was left for dead by global investors amid the onslaught from rivals such as Apple and Samsung Electronics. The only people interested in Sony, it seems, were scavenger hedge funds looking to force its beleaguered management into breaking the company up, betting that the sum of its parts was probably worth more than the whole.

The real debate around Sony Corp three years ago was how severe the restructuring might be and who would buy the parts in a fire sale. Mainland Chinese firms such as Lenovo Group, Haier Electronics Group, GOME Electrical Appliances Holding and Xiaomi, eager to get their hands on an established global brand, were sniffing around its consumer electronics unit; US telcos, cable companies and private-equity firms were reportedly interested in its motion picture and music entertainment unit; and Lenovo kicked tyres at its VAIO PC unit just before it was eventually sold to a private-equity group.

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