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Sony rejects activist's split plan

Sony rejects activist's split plan
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Sony’s shares slumped after it rejected American activist shareholder Daniel Loeb’s plan to split up the company and use the money raised to revive its loss-making consumer electronics business.

Loeb said he was disappointed, but will keep talking with the company to explore other options.

The billionaire investor wanted Sony to sell part of its money-making entertainment division – which produces movies, TV and music.

But the Japanese said after consulting with financial advisers outside the company the board had concluded that 100 percent ownership of the entertainment business “is the best path forward and is integral to Sony’s strategy”.

It also said a sale was not needed, as it has enough money to finance the restructuring of the electronics business.

On the spin off plan, Sony said it could still squeeze synergies from its marriage of content and hardware.

Responding to criticisms from Loeb it also promised more disclosure in its entertainment operations.


Loeb is credited with forcing change at Yahoo, where he waged an aggressive campaign to upend its previous management in 2011 and 2012, accusing then-CEO Scott Thompson of padding his resume with a non-existent computer science degree. Thompson quit within weeks.

Actor-producer George Clooney criticised Loeb in an interview published on Friday by film trade publication Deadline Hollywood, calling him a “hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business”.

Clooney accused Loeb of being “a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles,” referring to high-profile, big budget films.

Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point has said it had no comment on Clooney’s remarks.

Clooney co-founded production company Smokehouse Pictures, and signed a production agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2009.