Raising capital became a major concern as Sony continued to pursue its goal of establishing its own sales channels around the world. Sony was the first Japanese firm to issue American Depository Receipts (ADRs) to raise funds in the US market (see Part I, Chapter 12
). The issuance of ADRs marked the beginning of Sony's ambitious efforts to raise foreign capital, which in turn led to the internationalization of its capital. Sony raised approximately 4 billion yen through the issuance of a total of 5 million ADRs over two occasions in 1961 and 1963.
On September 17, 1970, the chairman of New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) welcomed Morita and Noboru Yoshii of Sony onto the trading floor 30 minutes prior to opening with a warm "Congratulations." At the time, the NYSE was the world's largest exchange and handled 75% of the world's stocks in terms of value. Sony had finally fulfilled all qualifications for listing and became the 1,305th firm, as well as the 30th non-US and first Japanese firm traded. Ten long years had passed since Sony first issued ADRs and it was the day that Sony management had long awaited.
At exactly 10:00 am, bells rang announcing the opening of trade. Morita immediately bought 100 Sony ADRs in his name in accordance with NYSE tradition. As soon as this order was sent to the back office, the letters "SNE" for Sony flashed across the electronic bulletin board with the opening price of "$15 5/8". Morita and Yoshii joyfully held up the ticker tape to display the price.
What did listing on the NYSE mean? It meant that Sony had finally become a truly international company worthy to share the floor and be traded with giants like General Motors Corp., whose sales exceeded Japan's entire national budget at the time. Moreover, once a company was listed on the NYSE, the Canadian and European exchanges would list it with virtually no questions asked.
Sony stocks were traded nonstop that day closing at $15 1/4. Trading volume was 120,300 shares and Sony ranked 13th among the 1,305 companies listed. Sony stocks had made a stunning debut.
At the press briefing that followed, Morita announced enthusiastically, that Sony had "taken its first step toward becoming a global company" and stated his intention to also gain listings on the European markets and turn Sony into "an international company built on a global foundation."
In the early 1960s, aside from SOSA and SONAM, Sony's two other overseas operations consisted of the Hong Kong Office, established in 1958 and a production plant in Ireland, established in 1959. Members of the International Division took turns taking two to three month business trips to establish local distribution channels and conduct market research.
By 1977, Sony was listed on 18 major exchanges in 10 countries and Sony stocks were being traded somewhere in the world virtually 24 hours a day. Sony had become a truly world class company for both its products and its stock.