Sony Deepening Discussions of Loeb’s Plan for Entertainment IPOMariko Yasu and Grace Huang
Sony Corp.’s board is “deepening” its discussions of billionaire investor Daniel Loeb’s proposal for an initial public offering of entertainment assets, yet no decision has been made, Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato said.
Investors have asked for more information about the units, and Sony has hired financial advisers, Kato said after the Tokyo-based company raised its full-year revenue forecast on the weaker yen. Sony cut sales forecasts for TVs, digital cameras and personal computers.
“It is an important proposal, and the board will make a decision after having a thorough discussion,” Kato said. “We cannot comment further.”
Loeb’s Third Point LLC, which controls about 6.9 percent of the stock, broached the plan in May to raise money to help revive Sony’s electronics divisions and boost the company’s valuation. Loeb this week criticized management of the film unit for movie box-office flops including “White House Down” and “After Earth.”
Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai has stressed the importance of ties between electronics and the entertainment businesses since Loeb first wrote to the company. Third Point, based in New York, said in May that it held a Sony stake valued at $1.1 billion.
An independent board and shareholders for the film, television and music assets would lead to more disciplined and accountable management at Sony’s Culver City, California-based movie and television studio, Loeb has said. Music and film-studio earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization at Sony trail industry peers, according to Loeb.