Activist Investor Daniel Loeb Sells Sony Stake
He had been a harsh critic of the electronics and entertainment conglomerate
Daniel Loeb, the outspoken leader of the investment firm, Third Point, said Tuesday he has sold his position in Sony.
The activist investor had previously written harsh letters to Sony management, criticizing them for not spinning off what he called the company's "bloated" entertainment assets. He also blasted the film studio for a string of flops that included White House Down and After Earth.
The news of the sale was first reported by Reuters. The outlet also said Loeb has taken large stakes in eBay and Alibaba.
Loeb had been a thorn in the side of Sony beginning about 17 months ago when Third Point had a 7 percent stake in the firm and was its largest shareholder.
He taunted Sony executives publicly, calling on them to rein in costs, choose better films, market them more efficiently and split the TV and movie assets from the consumer electronics business to create two separately traded companies.
Sony Entertainment "is characterized by a complete lack of accountability and poor financial controls," Loeb wrote last year. "Drastic -- rather than incremental -- action is required."
While Sony resisted calls for an entertainment spin-off, the company did make various management changes -- particularly in marketing -- and Sony Entertainment cut about $100 million from its annual expenses.
Loeb even sparred with George Clooney over Sony after the actor accused him of being a "carpetbagger" who was attempting to "manipulate" the price of the stock.
It's not yet known how much Loeb might have profited from his investment in Sony, though the stock traded at about $16.50 a share in April, 2013, when Third Point was presumably a buyer and on Tuesday the stock closed at $17.47.