Sony shares rise on report company may discuss spinoff

  • Article by: MICHAEL WHITE
  • Bloomberg News
  • May 21, 2013 - 9:22 PM

Shares of Sony Corp. rose 9.3 percent in the United States on Tuesday after Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported the company’s board may discuss spinning off its entertainment division.

American depositary receipts in Tokyo-based Sony advanced to close at $22.91 in New York, their biggest gain since May 14, when investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point proposed selling as much as 20 percent of the unit in an initial public offering. The assets include Sony’s film and television studio in Culver City, Calif., and its music business.

Sony executives are holding their regular corporate strategy meeting in Tokyo Wednesday. The company has relied on profit from its entertainment division to counter losses from its flagship consumer electronics business. Loeb met last week with Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai to deliver his proposal, which suggests the spin­off would bring a higher valuation and raise cash for Sony.

Nikkei issued a revised translation of an earlier story that said the Sony was “leaning toward” the spinoff. The company “is considering evaluating at a board meeting” the proposal, according to the updated version.

Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Sony, declined to comment.

In addition to raising cash for the electronics unit, the spinoff would provide a more disciplined focus on the entertainment group, maker of the “Spider-Man” movies, Loeb’s hedge fund said in a letter to Sony.

Sony plans to hire outside advisers to estimate how much a spinoff would add to the company’s value, with directors making the decision whether to pursue Loeb’s strategy, Nikkei said.

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