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Sony Shares Climb 8 Percent

Sony hq - H 2013
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UPDATED: The company closed a $1.1 billion real estate deal and got an upgrade from a Wall Street analyst who is bullish on smartphone sales.

Long-suffering Sony shareholders finally got a bit of reprieve on Friday after a Wall Street analyst upgraded the stock to “buy” and shares surged 8 percent.

The rise in the stock also coincided with Sony closing a previously announced $1.1 billion sale of its U.S. headquarters building on Madison Avenue in New York. After paying debt and transaction costs, Sony will receive net cash of $770 million, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Other media-related stocks pushing higher on Friday were DirecTV, up 5 percent, and Live Nation, up 1 percent. Live Nation said Thursday it appointed Gregory Maffei its new chairman, replacing Irving Azoff, who left a few months ago. Maffei is president and CEO of Liberty Media, which owns 27 percent of Live Nation.

The catalyst for DirecTV appears to be a failed effort to purchase broadband provider GVT from Viacom, which, had it been successful, could have put a damper on DirecTV’s ability to buy back shares. The busted acquisition effort also renews chatter that DirecTV might eventually merge with Dish Network.

As for Sony, its upgrade came from Daiwa Securities, which anticipates the company turning profitable in 2014, in part due to suddenly strong smartphone sales. The conglomerate’s Xperia Z has reportedly been the top-selling smartphone in Japan for four straight weeks and the Xperia SP debuts next week.

On Frida, Sony shares closed $1.23 higher to $17.26. The stock, though, is down 21 percent in the past year and 42 percent in the past two years.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com