20-F 1 d151790d20f.htm FORM 20-F Form 20-F
2024-03-312030-03-31falseFY0000313838NONEM0JPU.S. GAAPtrueP8YP10YUnder ASU 2016-13, Sony changed the presentation from “Allowance for doubtful accounts” to “Allowance for credit losses” on the consolidated balance sheets.Acquisitions for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 primarily related to the acquisition of PureFlix in the Pictures segment. Refer to Note 25.7,771 million yen and 15,654 million yen are included in foreign securities for which the fair value option has been elected and classified in level 2 for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021. In the consolidated balance sheets, 2,386 million yen are included as marketable securities for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 5,385 million yen and 15,654 million yen are included as securities investment and other for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. 188,426 million yen and 228,761 million yen are included in foreign securities for which the fair value option has been elected and classified in level 2 for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. In the consolidated balance sheets, 34,502 million yen and 52,637 million yen are included as marketable securities and 153,924 million yen and 176,124 million yen are included as securities investment and other for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. 193,430 million yen and 192,451 million yen are included in foreign securities for which the fair value option has been elected and classified in level 2 and level 3 for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, and are included in the consolidated balance sheets as securities investments and other. Other investments include certain hybrid financial instruments and certain private equity investments. Derivative assets and liabilities are recognized and disclosed on a gross basis. Earning effects are included in financial services revenue and financial services expense in the consolidated statements of income. Unrealized gains (losses) are included in unrealized gains (losses) on securities, net for available-for-sale securities and included in debt valuation adjustments for future insurance policy benefits and policyholders’ account in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income.Certain corporate bonds and certain securitized products were transferred into level 3 because differences between the fair value determined by indicative quotes from dealers and the fair value determined by internally developed prices became significant and the observability of the inputs used decreased.Certain corporate bonds and certain securitized products were transferred out of level 3 because observable market data became available. Revision has been made to correct the notional amount of foreign exchange forward contracts and the presentation of fair values of foreign exchange forward contracts and other currency contracts as of March 31, 2020.Sony adopted ASU 2019-02 from April 1, 2020, and as a result, broadcasting rights in the Pictures segment and animation film production costs in the Music segment were reclassified from inventories to film costs.Normal is defined as borrowers who do not have particular problems with their financial position.Future insurance policy benefits and policyholders’ account in the life insurance business are those for which the fair value option has been elected. Refer to Note 24.Includes approximately 37 percent and 42 percent of Japanese equity securities, and 63 percent and 58 percent of foreign equity securities for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively.Includes approximately 36 percent of debt securities issued by Japanese national and local governments, and 64 percent of debt securities issued by foreign national and local governments for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021.Includes debt securities issued by Japanese and foreign corporation and government related agencies.Includes primarily mortgage-backed securities.Commingled funds represent pooled institutional investments, including primarily investment trusts. They include approximately 50 percent and 54 percent of investments in equity, 45 percent and 43 percent of investments in fixed income, and 5 percent and 3 percent of investments in other for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively.Represents commodity futures funds.Includes multiple private equity funds of funds that primarily invest in venture, buyout, and distressed markets in the United States and Europe.Includes primarily funds that invest in a portfolio of a broad range of hedge funds to diversify the risks and reduce the volatilities associated with a single hedge fund.Includes primarily private real estate investment trusts.Includes primarily foreign equity securities.Includes primarily foreign government debt securities.Includes primarily foreign corporate debt securities.Represents annuity contracts with or without profit sharing.Commingled funds represent pooled institutional investments including mutual funds, common trust funds, and collective investment funds. They are primarily comprised of foreign equities and fixed income investments.Primarily consists of translation adjustments.Foreign currency translation adjustments were transferred from accumulated other comprehensive income to net income as a result of a complete or substantially complete liquidation or sale of certain foreign subsidiaries and affiliates.The amortization of pension and postretirement benefit components is included in the computation of net periodic pension cost. Refer to Note 15.Expected volatility was based on the historical volatilities of Sony Group Corporation’s common stock over the expected life of the stock acquisition rights.Receivables from contracts with customers and contract assets are included in the consolidated balance sheets as “Notes and accounts receivable, trade and contract assets” and “Other”, non-current.Contract liabilities are included in the consolidated balance sheets as “Other”, both current and non-current.For Motion Pictures and Television Productions in the Pictures segment, Sony has included all contracts regardless of duration.Amount included in the Music segment primarily consists of minimum royalty guarantees or fixed fees in contracts related to license revenue for ongoing access to an evolving library of content. These contracts also include the potential for sales-based or usage-based royalties to exceed the minimum guarantees, and these additional royalties are excluded from the amount above, of which substantially all are recognized as revenue within three years.Significant asset impairments excluded from restructuring charges are described in Note 13.Other associated costs includes non-cash write-downs and disposals, net.Refer to Notes 5 and 24.Refer to Note 5.Refer to Notes 9, 13 and 19.Equity securities include Investment funds.Foreign corporate bonds include repackaged bonds.Substantially all of Sony’s film costs for Media Networks content are broadcasting rights and predominantly monetized with other content. 0000313838 2020-03-31 0000313838 2021-03-31 0000313838 2018-04-01 2019-03-31 0000313838 2019-04-01 2020-03-31 0000313838 2020-04-01 2021-03-31 0000313838 2019-12-19 0000313838 2019-12-31 0000313838 2016-04-01 2017-03-31 0000313838 2020-04-01 0000313838 2020-07-01 2020-09-30 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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 20-F
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
or
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021
or
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from/to
or
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report:
Commission file number
1-6439
Sony Group Kabushiki Kaisha
(Exact Name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
SONY GROUP CORPORATION
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English) 
Japan
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
7-1,
KONAN
1-CHOME
,
MINATO-KU,
TOKYO
108-0075
JAPAN
(Address of principal executive offices)
J. Justin Hill, Senior Vice President, Finance & Investor Relations
Sony Corporation of America
25 Madison Avenue, 26
th
Floor
New York, N
ew
Y
ork
10010-8601
Telephone:
212-833-6722
E-mail:
ir@sony.com
(Name, Telephone,
E-mail
and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of Each Class
 
Trading Symbol(s)
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
 
American Depositary Shares*
 
 
SONY
 
 
New York Stock Exchange
Common Stock**        
*
American Depositary Shares evidenced by American Depositary Receipts. Each American Depositary Share represents one share of Common Stock.
**
No par value per share. Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing of American Depositary Shares pursuant to the requirements of the New York Stock Exchange.
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
None
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the Annual Report:
 
 
  
Outstanding as of
 
 
  
March 31, 2021
 
  
March 31, 2021
 
Title of Class
  
(Tokyo Time)
 
  
(New York Time)
 
Common Stock
   1,239,227,575
 
          
American Depositary Shares
    
 
       118,979,394  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes
  ☑    No  ☐
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    
Yes 
 
☐    No
 
 
☑ 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes
 
 
☑    No  ☐ 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes
 
 
☑    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a
non-accelerated
filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
 
☑  Large accelerated filer
   ☐  Accelerated filer   
☐  Non-accelerated
filer
     Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new
o
r revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
 
 
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
US GAAP
 
 ☑
  
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board 
 
  
Other
 
 
 
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
 
Item 17  ☐
  
     
Item 18  ☐
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in
Rule 12b-2
of the Exchange Act).
 
Yes  ☐
  
     
No  
 
 
 

On April 1, 2021, Sony Group Corporation changed its company name from “Sony Corporation” to “Sony Group Corporation.” All instances of the company name included in this Annual Report on Form
20-F
(“Form
20-F”)
have been updated to conform to this change, and Sony Group Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries are together referred to as “Sony” or “Sony Group,” except where otherwise expressly stated or required by context. References to “Sony Corporation” in exhibits to this Form
20-F
should also be read as referring to Sony Group Corporation. In addition, sales and operating revenue are referred to as “sales” in the narrative description except in the consolidated financial statements.
Cautionary Statement
Statements made in this document with respect to Sony’s current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Sony. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those statements using words such as “believe,” “expect,” “plans,” “strategy,” “prospects,” “forecast,” “estimate,” “project,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “intend,” “seek,” “may,” “might,” “could” or “should,” and words of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of future operations, financial performance, events or conditions. From time to time, oral or written forward-looking statements may also be included in other materials released to the public. These statements are based on management’s assumptions, judgments and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. Sony cautions investors that a number of important risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements, and therefore investors should not place undue reliance on them. Please note that Sony discloses its forecasts for consolidated results and other financial figures for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022 and beyond based on International Financial Reporting Standards. Investors also should not rely on any obligation of Sony to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Sony disclaims any such obligation. Risks and uncertainties that might affect Sony include, but are not limited to:
 
  (i)
Sony’s ability to maintain product quality and customer satisfaction with its products and services;
 
  (ii)
Sony’s ability to continue to design and develop and win acceptance of, as well as achieve sufficient cost reductions for, its products and services, including image sensors, game and network platforms, smartphones and televisions, which are offered in highly competitive markets characterized by severe price competition and continual new product and service introductions, rapid development in technology and subjective and changing customer preferences;
 
  (iii)
Sony’s ability to implement successful hardware, software, and content integration strategies, and to develop and implement successful sales and distribution strategies in light of new technologies and distribution platforms;
 
  (iv)
the effectiveness of Sony’s strategies and their execution, including but not limited to the success of Sony’s acquisitions, joint ventures, investments, capital expenditures, restructurings and other strategic initiatives;
 
  (v)
changes in laws, regulations and government policies in the markets in which Sony and its third-party suppliers, service providers and business partners operate, including those related to taxation, as well as growing consumer focus on corporate social responsibility;
 
  (vi)
Sony’s continued ability to identify the products, services and market trends with significant growth potential, to devote sufficient resources to research and development, to prioritize investments and capital expenditures correctly and to recoup its investments and capital expenditures, including those required for technology development and product capacity;
 
  (vii)
Sony’s reliance on external business partners, including for the procurement of parts, components, software and network services for its products or services, the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of its products, and its other business operations;
 
  (viii)
the global economic and political environment in which Sony operates and the economic and political conditions in Sony’s markets, particularly levels of consumer spending;
 
  (ix)
Sony’s ability to meet operational and liquidity needs as a result of significant volatility and disruption in the global financial markets or a ratings downgrade;
 
  (x)
Sony’s ability to forecast demands, manage timely procurement and control inventories;
 
2

  (xi)
foreign exchange rates, particularly between the yen and the U.S. dollar, the euro and other currencies in which Sony makes significant sales and incurs production costs, or in which Sony’s assets, liabilities and operating results are denominated;
 
  (xii)
Sony’s ability to recruit, retain and maintain productive relations with highly skilled personnel;
 
  (xiii)
Sony’s ability to prevent unauthorized use or theft of intellectual property rights, to obtain or renew licenses relating to intellectual property rights and to defend itself against claims that its products or services infringe the intellectual property rights owned by others;
 
  (xiv)
the impact of changes in interest rates and unfavorable conditions or developments (including market fluctuations or volatility) in the Japanese equity markets on the revenue and operating income of the Financial Services segment;
 
  (xv)
shifts in customer demand for financial services such as life insurance and Sony’s ability to conduct successful asset liability management in the Financial Services segment;
 
  (xvi)
risks related to catastrophic disasters, pandemic disease or similar events;
 
  (xvii)
the ability of Sony, its third-party service providers or business partners to anticipate and manage cybersecurity risk, including the risk of unauthorized access to Sony’s business information and the personally identifiable information of its employees and customers, potential business disruptions or financial losses; and
 
  (xviii)
the outcome of pending and/or future legal and/or regulatory proceedings.
Risks and uncertainties also include the impact of any future events with material adverse impact. The continued impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 could heighten many of the risks and uncertainties noted above.
Important information regarding risks and uncertainties is also set forth elsewhere in this annual report, including in “Risk Factors” under “Item 3.
Key Information
,” “Item 4.
Information on the Company
,” “Item 5.
 Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
,” “Legal Proceedings” included in “Item 8.
Financial Information
,” Sony’s consolidated financial statements referenced in “Item 8.
Financial Information
” and “Item 11.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk
.”
 
3

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Item 1.
Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Not Applicable
 
Item 2.
Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Not Applicable
 
Item 3.
Key Information
 
A.
Selected Financial Data
 
    
Fiscal year ended March 31
 
     2017     2018     2019     2020    
2021
 
    
(Yen in millions, yen per share amounts)
 
Income statement data:
          
Sales and operating revenue
     7,603,250       8,543,982       8,665,687       8,259,885    
 
8,999,360
 
Equity in net income (loss) of affiliated companies
     3,563       8,569       (2,999     9,637    
 
11,487
 
Operating income
     288,702       734,860       894,235       845,459    
 
971,865
 
Income before income taxes
     251,619       699,049       1,011,648       799,450    
 
1,192,370
 
Income taxes
     124,058       151,770       45,098       177,190    
 
995
 
Net income attributable to Sony Group Corporation’s stockholders
     73,289       490,794       916,271       582,191    
 
1,171,776
 
Comprehensive income
     143,652       553,220       995,542       666,032    
 
1,207,067
 
Data per share of Common Stock:
          
Net income attributable to Sony Group Corporation’s stockholders*
          
— Basic
     58.07       388.32       723.41       471.64    
 
952.29
 
— Diluted
     56.89       379.75       707.74       461.23    
 
936.90
 
Cash dividends declared Interim
     10.00       12.50       15.00       20.00    
 
25.00
 
     (8.79 cents     (11.11 cents     (13.18 cents     (18.38 cents  
 
(23.91 cents
Cash dividends declared Fiscal
year-end
     10.00       15.00       20.00       25.00    
 
30.00
 
     (9.13 cents     (13.75 cents     (18.28 cents     (22.76 cents  
 
(27.29 cents
Balance sheet data:
          
Sony Group Corporation’s stockholders’ equity
     2,497,246       2,967,366       3,746,377       4,125,306    
 
5,575,839
 
Common stock
     860,645       865,678       874,291       880,214    
 
880,214
 
Net assets
     3,135,422       3,647,157       4,436,690       4,789,535    
 
5,621,476
 
Total assets**
     17,660,556       19,065,538       20,981,586       23,039,343    
 
26,354,840
 
Number of shares issued at fiscal
year-end
(thousands of shares of common stock)
     1,263,764       1,266,552       1,271,230       1,261,059    
 
1,261,059
 
Sony Group Corporation’s stockholders’ equity per share of common stock
     1,977.72       2,344.96       2,995.31       3,380.96    
 
4,499.45
 
* Refer to Note 22 of the consolidated financial statements.
** As of April 1, 2019, Sony adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”)
2016-02,
which amends leasing guidance. Sony adopted the ASU on a modified retrospective basis with no restatement of comparative periods.
 
B.
Capitalization and Indebtedness
Not Applicable
 
C.
Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
Not Applicable
 
6

D.
Risk Factors
This section contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the Cautionary Statement appearing on page 2 of this annual report. Risks to Sony are also discussed elsewhere in this annual report.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019
(“COVID-19”)
pandemic has adversely affected, and is expected to continue to adversely affect, Sony’s business operations, operating results and financial condition.
The
COVID-19
pandemic is adversely affecting procurement of components and raw materials, production, development, sale and distribution of the products and services in each of Sony’s business segments, and these negative impacts are expected to continue in the future. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, for example, in the Game & Network Services (“G&NS”) segment, there was an adverse impact on the production of hardware due to issues in the component supply chain. In the Music segment, the release of some new music continued to be delayed around the world primarily due to artists being unable to record music, produce music videos or promote releases. Ticket and merchandising revenues decreased as
in-person
concerts and other events continued to be restricted in Japan and other areas. Additionally, due to a global reduction in advertising spending, revenue from the licensing of music in TV commercials decreased. In the Pictures segment, box office revenue was significantly impacted by the closure or limited capacity of movie theaters, and Sony was not able to release most of its already completed titles in theaters. Although the production of new motion pictures and television shows by Sony gradually resumed, production schedules continued to be delayed. Additionally, the global reduction in advertising spending led to a decrease in advertising revenue in the Pictures segment. In the Electronics Products & Solutions (“EP&S”) segment, certain of Sony’s manufacturing sites ceased production for a period of time pursuant to local government policy, and a portion of supply was temporarily insufficient to meet demand. Some partner companies that supply components to several Sony businesses reduced their operations and were affected by the stoppage or delay of logistics, causing a delay in the production of some Sony products due to component shortages. Additionally, sales decreased due to the closure of retail stores globally. In the Imaging & Sensing Solutions (“I&SS”) segment, image sensor sales decreased primarily due to a slowdown in the digital camera market, which is a final outlet for Sony’s image sensors. In the Financial Services segment, pursuant to the announcement of a state of emergency by the Japanese government, all
in-person
sales activity of the Lifeplanner
®
sales specialists at Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (“Sony Life”) was suspended from April 2020 through May 2020.
The timing and extent to which the pandemic further negatively impacts Sony’s business could vary greatly depending on future developments, such as the possible further spread of or a resurgence in
COVID-19,
the timing and extent to which
COVID-19
declines as well as the state of lockdowns and other measures in various geographic areas around the world and their impact on macroeconomic conditions. As a result, the impact of negative factors in each segment, such as those listed above, may continue or become more severe. For example, with respect to the Pictures segment, major studios continue to postpone the release of films, leading to the possibility that, when these studios decide to release the postponed films, the theatrical release calendar will become crowded, increasing competition for available screen space. This could delay the recovery of sales and profit in the Pictures segment. The EP&S segment could continue to be adversely impacted by factory shutdowns and supply chain issues, and by the closure of retail stores globally. In the Financial Services segment, although Sony Life has established a system that enables remote consulting and paperless application and maintenance procedures with respect to its sales activities, it may continue to be adversely affected by restrictions on its
in-person
sales activities. Much of the Sony workforce shifted to working at home during the spread of
COVID-19
and is expected to continue to work at home for the time being. Although Sony takes measures to ensure that appropriate information security protections are in place for the remote workforce, there can be no guarantee that Sony’s actions, security measures and controls designed to prevent, detect or respond to outside intrusion, limit access to data, prevent loss, destruction, alteration, or exfiltration of business information, or limit the negative impact from such attacks can provide absolute security.
The continued impact of
COVID-19
could heighten many of the risks and uncertainties noted below.
Sony must overcome increasingly intense competition, which could lead to lower revenue or operating margins.
Sony has several business segments in different industries with many product and service categories, which cause it to compete with many existing and new competitors ranging from large multinational companies to highly specialized entities that focus on only one or a few businesses and also, potentially, with outsourced manufacturing service partners that currently supply products to Sony. These competitors may have greater financial, technical, labor and marketing resources available to them than those available to Sony. Sony’s financial condition and operating results depend on its ability to efficiently anticipate and respond to these established and new competitors.
The competitive factors Sony faces vary depending on the nature of the business. For example, in the electronics area, Sony competes on the basis of various factors including price and function, while in the Music
 
7

and Pictures segments, Sony competes for talent, such as artists, songwriters, actors, directors and producers, and for entertainment content that is created, acquired, licensed and/or distributed. Competition on price can lead to lower margins when costs do not fall at a proportional rate, and competition for talent and appealing product can also lead to lower profitability if the higher costs required for such talent and content cannot be recouped through greater sales. Moreover, even for those products where Sony believes it has a strong competitive advantage, such as image sensors, it is possible that its competitors’ technological capabilities will accelerate such that Sony would be unable to maintain its advantageous market position. In terms of consumer electronics products, to produce products that appeal to changing and increasingly diverse consumer preferences or to overcome the fact that a relatively high percentage of consumers already possess similar products, Sony must develop superior technology, anticipate consumer tastes and rapidly develop attractive and differentiated products with competitive prices and features. Sony faces increasingly intense pricing pressure from competitors, retailer consolidation, new sales/distribution channels and shorter product cycles in a variety of consumer product categories. In the Music and Pictures segments, operating results can be impacted by worldwide consumer acceptance of their products, which is difficult to predict, by competing products released at or near the same time and by alternative forms of entertainment and leisure activities available to consumers. Additionally, the spread of
COVID-19
starting in the beginning of the 2020 calendar year resulted in lockdowns around the world, which are influencing changes in consumer behavior.
If Sony is unable to maintain its advantageous market position in the fields in which it has a technological or other competitive advantage, Sony is unable to effectively anticipate and counter the ongoing price erosion that frequently affects its consumer products or the cost pressures affecting its businesses, there is a change in existing business models or consumer preferences, or the average prices of Sony’s products decrease faster than Sony is able to reduce manufacturing costs, Sony’s operating results and financial condition may be adversely impacted.
To remain competitive and stimulate customer demand, Sony must invest in research and development to achieve product and service innovations and successfully manage frequent introductions of such new products and services.
To strengthen the competitiveness of its products and services, Sony continues to invest in research and development (“R&D”), particularly in growth areas such as the I&SS and G&NS segments. However, Sony may not be successful in investing in R&D if it fails to identify products, services and market trends with significant growth potential. In addition, Sony’s investments may not yield the innovation or the expected results quickly enough, or competitors may lead Sony in technological innovation. This may hinder Sony’s ability to commercialize new and competitive products and services.
Sony must continually introduce, enhance and stimulate customer demand for consumer electronic products and network services. Sales of these products and services are particularly sensitive to the significant weighting of consumer demand to the
year-end
holiday season. In the G&NS segment, the successful introduction and penetration of gaming platforms, including streaming, is a significant factor driving sales and profitability, and this success is affected by the ability to provide customers with attractive
software line-ups
and online services. However, there is no assurance that third-party software developers and publishers, major contributors to this effort, will continue to develop and release software. In addition, Sony believes that integrating its hardware, software, entertainment content and network services, and investing in R&D to effect such integration, is essential in generating revenue growth and profitability. However, this strategy depends on its ability to further develop network services technologies, coordinate and prioritize strategic and operational issues among Sony’s various business units and sales channels, continually introduce enhanced and competitively priced hardware that is seamlessly connected to network platforms with user interfaces that are innovative and attractive to consumers and also standardize technological and interface specifications industry-wide and across Sony’s networked products and business units. In addition, the G&NS, Music and Pictures segments must invest substantial amounts, which may include significant upfront investments, in internally developed software titles, artist advances, catalog acquisitions, motion picture productions, television productions and broadcast programming before knowing whether their products will receive customer acceptance. Furthermore, underperformance of Pictures’ products in the initial distribution market is correlated with weak performance in subsequent distribution markets, which would have an adverse effect on Sony’s results in the year of initial release as well as future years.
The successful introductions of, and transitions to, new products and services depend on a number of factors, such as the timely and successful completion of development efforts, market acceptance, planning and executing an effective marketing strategy, managing new product introductions, managing production
ramp-up
issues, the availability of application software for new products, quality control and the concentration of
 
8

consumer demand in the
year-end
holiday season. If Sony cannot achieve the expected results from its investment in R&D, adequately manage frequent introductions of new products and services and obtain consumer acceptance of its new products and services, or if Sony is not successful in implementing its integration strategy, Sony’s reputation, operating results and financial condition may be adversely impacted.
Sony’s strategic initiatives, including acquisitions, joint ventures, investments, capital expenditures and restructurings, may not be successful in achieving their strategic objectives.
Sony actively engages in acquisitions, joint ventures, capital expenditures and other strategic investments to acquire new technologies, efficiently develop new businesses and enhance its business competitiveness. For example, in September 2020, in order to achieve further growth and strengthen governance within the financial services business with the goal of enhancing the corporate value of the entire Sony Group, Sony acquired all of the common shares and related stock acquisition rights of Sony Financial Holdings, Inc. (“SFH”) not held by Sony and made SFH a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, spending 396.7 billion yen. In addition, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, Sony invested in Bilibili Inc. and Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”), and acquired minority interests in both companies, with the goal of accelerating business expansion in the area of entertainment. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, Sony acquired 100% of the shares and related assets of certain subsidiaries of Kobalt Music Group Limited (“Kobalt”), relating to AWAL, Kobalt’s music distribution business mainly for independent recording artists, and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, Kobalt’s music neighboring rights management business. The consideration for this acquisition was 49.8 billion yen. Prior to the closing of the acquisition, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) initiated a review of the transaction, and Sony continues to cooperate with such review. The accounting treatment for the acquisition, which is currently under review by the CMA, has not yet been determined as of the date of this report. In addition, Sony made an additional strategic investment in Epic in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
When making acquisitions, Sony’s financial results may be adversely affected by the significant cost of the acquisition and/or integration expenses, failure to achieve synergies, failure to generate expected revenue and cost improvements, loss of key personnel and assumption of liabilities.
When establishing joint ventures and strategic partnerships, Sony’s financial and operating results may be adversely affected by strategic or cultural differences with partners, conflicts of interest, failure to achieve synergies, additional funding or debt guarantees required to maintain the joint venture or partnership, requirements to buy out a joint venture partner, sell its shares or dissolve a partnership, insufficient management control including control over cash flow, loss of proprietary technology and
know-how,
impairment losses and reputational harm from the actions or activities of a joint venture that uses the Sony brand.
Sony invests heavily in production facilities and equipment, including fabrication facilities used to make image sensors for smartphones and other products. Sony may not be able to recover these capital expenditures in part or full or in the planned timeframe due to the competitive environment, lower-than-expected consumer demand or changes in the financial condition or business decisions of Sony’s major customers. Sony invested 265.7 billion yen and 180.0 billion yen of capital in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, mainly for the purpose of increasing image sensor production capacity.
Further, Sony is implementing restructuring and transformation initiatives to enhance profitability, business autonomy and shareholder value and to clearly position each business within the overall business portfolio. However, the expected benefits of these initiatives, including the expected level of profitability, may not be realized due to internal and external impediments or market conditions worsening beyond expectations. If Sony is not successful in achieving its restructuring and transformation initiatives, Sony’s operating results, financial condition, reputation, competitiveness or profitability may be adversely affected. For example, in order to improve the profitability of its smartphone business in the EP&S segment, Sony implemented restructuring initiatives through the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, which included the cessation of production at its Beijing factory and the exit from several regions, such as the Middle East and Central and South America. Sony incurred restructuring charges in the amount of 25.0 billion yen and 25.9 billion yen in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Sony’s sales and profitability may be affected by the operating performance of wholesalers, retailers, other resellers and third-party distributors.
Sony is dependent for the distribution of its products on wholesalers, retailers, other resellers and third-party distributors, many of whom also distribute competitors’ products. For example, in some cases, Sony’s smartphones sold through cellular network carriers are subsidized by the carriers. There is no assurance that such
 
9

subsidies will be continued at all or in the same amounts upon renewal of Sony’s agreements with these carriers or in agreements Sony enters into with new carriers. In addition, the Pictures segment depends on third parties to theatrically exhibit its motion pictures, and to operate cable, satellite, internet and other distribution systems to distribute its motion pictures and television programming. A decline in the licensing fees received from these third parties may adversely affect the Pictures segment’s sales. The Pictures segment’s worldwide television networks are also distributed on third-party cable, satellite and other distribution systems and the failure to renew, or the renewal on less favorable terms of, television carriage contracts (broadcasting agreements) with these third-party distributors may adversely affect the Pictures segment’s ability to generate advertising and subscription sales through these networks.
Sony invests in programs to incentivize wholesalers, retailers, and other resellers and third-party distributors to position and promote Sony’s products, but there is no assurance that these programs will provide a significant return or incremental revenue by persuading consumers to buy Sony products instead of competitors’ products.
The operating results and financial condition of many wholesalers, retailers, other resellers and third-party distributors have been adversely impacted by competition, especially from online retailers, and weak economic conditions. If their financial condition continues to weaken, they stop distributing Sony’s products, or uncertainty regarding demand for Sony’s products or other factors cause them to reduce their ordering, marketing, subsidizing, or distributing Sony’s products, Sony’s operating results and financial condition may be adversely impacted. For example, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, the global closure of retail stores and other businesses resulting from the spread of
COVID-19
starting in the beginning of the 2020 calendar year negatively impacted sales of Sony’s products.
As a global company, Sony is subject to a wide range of laws and regulations and a growing consumer focus on corporate social responsibility in many countries. Those laws and regulations, as well as consumer focus, might change in significant ways, leading to an increase in the costs of Sony’s operations, a curtailment of Sony’s activities, and/or an adverse effect on Sony’s reputation.
As a global company, Sony is subject to the laws and regulations of many countries throughout the world that affect its business operations in a number of areas, including advertising, promotions, consumer protection, import and export requirements, anti-corruption, anti-trust, environmental protection (including decarbonizing regulations in connection with actions against climate change), data privacy and protection, content and broadcast regulation, intellectual property, labor, product liability, taxation (including taxes from certain revenue on digital services), foreign investment, government procurement, foreign exchange controls, and economic sanctions.
Compliance with these laws and regulations may be onerous and expensive. These laws and regulations continue to develop and may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, further increasing the cost of compliance and doing business. Any such developments could occur frequently and without warning and could make Sony’s products or services less attractive to its customers, delay or prohibit introduction of new products or services in one or more regions or cause Sony to change or limit its business practices. For example, imposition of restrictive trade measures in the United States and elsewhere, as well as retaliatory actions against such measures, could result in increased customs duties applicable to Sony’s products or increased costs for procuring parts and components, and could limit or prohibit the sales of Sony’s products and services to certain of its current or potential customers, which may adversely affect Sony’s operating results and financial condition. In the I&SS segment, Sony suspended product shipments of image sensors to a certain Chinese customer from September 15, 2020, pursuant to export restrictions announced by the U.S. government on August 17, 2020. As a result, image sensor sales decreased compared to before the export restrictions came into effect, although Sony resumed a portion of shipments to the customer after receiving a U.S. export license. Sony also recorded inventory write-downs of certain image sensors for the same customer in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. In addition, changes in laws or regulations or the judicial interpretation thereof that Sony relies on or Sony is subject to in conducting its operations, including online operations, as well as Sony’s failure to anticipate such changes, may subject Sony to greater risk of liability, increase the costs of compliance, or limit Sony’s ability to engage in or expand certain operations or lead to discontinuance of certain operations.
Violation of applicable laws or regulations by Sony, its employees, third-party suppliers, business partners and agents may subject Sony to fines, penalties, legal judgments, restrictions on business operations and/or reputational damage. Additionally, there is a growing global regulatory and consumer focus on corporate social responsibility and sourcing practices and increasing regulatory obligations of public disclosure regarding these matters. In particular, there is increased attention on labor practices, including work environments at electronic component manufacturers and original design manufacturing/original equipment manufacturing, or ODM/OEM,
 
10

product manufacturers operating in Asia. Increased regulation or public pressure in this area could cause Sony’s compliance costs to increase, particularly since Sony uses many parts, components and materials to manufacture its products and relies on suppliers to provide these parts, components and materials but does not directly control the suppliers’ procurement or employment practices. A finding of
non-compliance,
or the perception that Sony has not responded appropriately to growing consumer concern for such issues, whether or not Sony is legally required to do so, may adversely affect Sony’s reputation, operating results and financial condition.
Sony must manage its large volume of and widespread procurement from third-party suppliers and business partners to control inventory levels, availability, costs and quality of parts, components, software and network services within volatile markets.
Sony’s products and services rely on a large volume of third-party suppliers and business partners for parts, components, software and network services, including semiconductors, chipsets for PlayStation game consoles and mobile products, LCD (liquid crystal display) panels and the Android OS that is used in mobile products, televisions and services. As a result, external suppliers’ and partners’ supply shortages, fluctuations in pricing, quality issues, discontinued support, changes in business terms or prioritization of customers outside the electronics area or of Sony’s competitors can adversely affect Sony’s operating results, brand and reputation. For example, although Sony continues to strive to secure necessary semiconductors and other components in response to the global shortages of semiconductors and other components that have become noticeable since the latter half of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, sudden or prolonged supply shortages can adversely affect the operating results of the G&NS, EP&S and I&SS segments. Reliance on third-party software and technologies may make it increasingly difficult for Sony to differentiate its products from competitors’ products. Also, shortages or delayed shipments of critical parts or components may result in a reduction or suspension of production at Sony’s or its business partners’ manufacturing sites, particularly where Sony is substantially reliant on one supplier, where there is limited production capacity for custom parts or components, or where there are initial manufacturing capacity constraints for products, parts or components that use new technologies.
Sony places orders for parts and components in line with production and inventory plans determined in advance based on its forecast of consumer demand, which is highly volatile and difficult to predict. Inaccurate forecasts of consumer demand or inadequate business planning can lead to a shortage or excess inventory, which can disrupt production plans and result in lost sales opportunities or inventory adjustments, respectively. Sony writes down the value of its inventory when the underlying parts, components or products have become obsolete, when inventory levels exceed the amount expected to be used, or when the value of the inventory is otherwise recorded at a value higher than net realizable value. Such lost sales opportunities, inventory adjustments, or shortages of parts and components have had and may have an adverse impact on Sony’s operating results and financial condition.
Sony’s sales, profitability and operations are sensitive to global and regional economic and political trends and conditions.
Sony’s sales and profitability are sensitive to economic trends in its major markets. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, 32.9%, 23.9% and 20.2% of Sony’s sales and operating revenue were attributable to Japan, the U.S. and Europe, respectively. These markets may be subject to significant economic downturns, resulting in an adverse impact on Sony’s operating results and financial condition. An actual or expected deterioration of economic conditions in any of Sony’s major markets may result in a decline in consumers’ consumption and adverse impacts on the businesses of commercial customers, resulting in reduced demand for Sony’s products and services. For example, the impacts from the spread of
COVID-19
in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 adversely affected global economic conditions, which had adverse effects on Sony’s business operations. (For details on the impacts from the spread of
COVID-19,
refer to “
The Coronavirus Disease 2019
(“COVID-19”)
pandemic has adversely affected, and is expected to continue to adversely affect, Sony’s business operations, operating results and financial condition.
”)
In addition, Sony’s operations are conducted in many countries and regions around the world, and these international operations, particularly in certain emerging markets, can create challenges. For example, in the EP&S, I&SS and G&NS segments, production and procurement of products, parts and components in China and other Asian countries and regions increase the time necessary to supply products to other markets worldwide, which can make it more difficult to meet changing customer demand in a timely manner. Further, in certain countries and regions, Sony may encounter difficulty in planning and managing operations due to unfavorable political or economic factors, such as armed conflicts, deterioration in foreign relations, changes in trade policies,
non-compliance with
expected business conduct and a lack of adequate infrastructure. If international or domestic political and military instability disrupts Sony’s business operations or those of its business partners Sony’s operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.