Sun Valley: Sony CEO Says Entertainment Unit Is 'Doing Just Fine'
Kazuo Hirai doesn't comment further on a spin-off proposal from activist investor Daniel Loeb, but says the conglomerate's electronics unit "needs the most work."
Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai on Wednesday said at the Allen & Co. gathering of media and technology moguls that the conglomerate's entertainment business is doing well and that the electronics unit remains his biggest headache.
Activist investor Daniel Loeb has been pushing Sony to spin off a stake in its entertainment business. The CEO has previously said that the company's board would consider the suggestion. Hirai, who is attending the Sun Valley gathering with Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, on Wednesday didn't provide latest commentary on the state of discussions.
But he told Bloomberg News: “I don’t worry about the entertainment business, it’s doing just fine." He added: "Electronics is what needs the most work.”
Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point, which owns a 6.9 percent stake in Sony, has been urging Hirai to sell a stake of up to 20 percent in the conglomerate’s movie and music businesses in an IPO to boost the businesses' transparency and the company’s stock price.
The disappointing box-office results of recent releases White House Down, starring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, and After Earth, with Will and Jaden Smith, were seen as possibly getting the Loeb proposal added attention, but Sony has also had a hit this summer with the modestly budgeted comedy This Is the End.
Sony's electronics unit has been losing money in TV sets and smartphones and reported nine annual losses in a row.