Dan Loeb's Third Point No Longer One of Sony's Top 10 Shareholders
TOKYO -- Daniel Loeb's Third Point hedge fund, which had been advocating a partial spinoff of Sony's entertainment business, was not listed as one of Sony's top 10 shareholders in a recent regulatory filing by the company.
Reuters first reported that Third Point was absent from a Tokyo regulatory filing, but a U.S. filing from last week appeared to show the same.
The filing could mean that Third Point has sold off some Sony stock, which would reduce Loeb's ability to influence company affairs.
Third Point said it had built a 7 percent stake in Sony last year, making it the largest single shareholder, and was registered as holding 1.64 percent in the same filing at the end of September. The remaining portion of the stake was believed to be held in a variety of names for both regulatory and stealth reasons.
Third Point's stake was less than 0.96 percent at the end of December, according to a filing made with authorities in Tokyo. While it is unclear whether Third Point's overall stake has been reduced or simply transferred to other names, it seems likely that it has sold off some of Sony's underperforming stock.
Shareholders owning more than 1 percent in Sony can make official proposals at shareholder meetings, but Loeb has already put pressure on the company in other ways.
Loeb's fund previously said it was the largest single shareholder with its 7 percent stake. The latest filing showed Moxley and Co. as the largest shareholder with an 8 percent stake.
But the Loeb shares are believed to be held under a number of different names to avoid the need to register with the Japanese financial authorities. Any individual, fund or company that owns more than 5 percent of a publicly traded company in Japan must register that stake. Hedge funds are often keen on keeping their holdings below the radar.
Third Point's proposal for an entertainment sell-off was rejected by management last year, and Sony's stock price has come under pressure as the corporation has struggled to return to profitability in key sectors.
Neither Third Point nor Sony have commented on the situation.