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Internet

Sony prepares to invest in Net companies

The consumer electronics and entertainment company forms an investment subsidiary in a move to capture new markets as it expands its digital content to the Net.

    Sony today said it has formed an investment subsidiary in a move to capture new markets as it expands its digital content to the Net.

    As a division of Sony Broadband Entertainment, 550 Digital Media Ventures will develop and manage a collaborative network of more than 35 companies, including Reciprocal, MongoMusic, Palm and i3 Mobile. The venture group will provide those companies with capital resources, operating infrastructure, facilities and back-office operations.

    "550 Digital Media Ventures will be the primary vehicle for incubation and venture capital investment in digital media for Sony Broadband Entertainment," Howard Stringer, chairman of the group, said in a statement. Stringer is also the chief executive of Sony Corporation of America.

    The formation of a venture group follows reorganization efforts aimed at improving Sony's content delivery via the Web. In March, Sony formed an umbrella organization, Sony Broadband Entertainment, to oversee three of its U.S. media units--film, music and online entertainment. The company is restructuring its electronics business in a separate effort.

    550 Digital Media Ventures headquarters will be in New York and will have additional offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Sony's financial commitment to the investment unit was not disclosed.