Report: Sony wants to sell Gracenote

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Sony Corporation has hired Qatalyst Partners to sell the Gracenote audio recognition service, according to sources with Bloomberg. Gracenote is looking to become a private company again and they are now hitting annual revenues of between $100 million and $200 million.

Sony acquired Gracenote in 2008 for $260 million. A deal could happen by the end of the year.

Gracenote technology is used by iTunes to quickly identify songs when a user transfers tracks to a computer from a CD. Gracenote is being used in TVs so that markets can find out what a person is watching and target ads based on their demographics.

Sony could potentially maintain a stake in Gracenote as part of the deal. Gracenote is integrated in many of Sony’s products like smartphones and TVs.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is focused on cutting costs and consolidate operations as the company struggles to compete against other large consumer electronics companies.

Qatalyst Partners is known for advising a group of investors to spend $6.9 billion on BMC Software. Qatalyst also worked with Google on their acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

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