Investor Urges Sony To Spin Off Entertainment Biz
Hedge-fund manager Daniel S. Loeb, whose Third Point fund holds 6.5 percent of Sony worth about $1.1 billion, is calling for the Japanese company to spin off most of its entertainment operations including Sony Entertainment, producers of the Spider-Man and James Bond movies, the New York Times reported today (Tuesday), citing people briefed on the matter. According to the newspaper, Loeb flew to Tokyo last week to meet with government officials and Sony executives, including Sony's chief executive, Kazuo Hirai, to whom he hand-delivered a letter, saying in part, So while Third Point supports your agenda for change, we also believe that to succeed, Sony must focus -- presumably meaning that the company's subsidiaries, ranging from electronics to entertainment to insurance to financial services, are too diverse to be effectively overseen by top management. Spinning off part of the entertainment business, Loeb has suggested, could boost profits, raise share price by as much as 60 percent, and help revive Sony's core electronics business. A spokesman for the company told the Times that Sony Entertainment contributes significantly to its overall earnings and is not for sale but that Sony intends to continue constructive dialogue with our shareholders as we pursue our strategy.