If a New York hedge fund had its way, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) would spin off a large part of its lucrative entertainment activities as separate entities from its core electronics business.
Daniel Loeb, the 51-year-old billionaire head of Third Point, which owns 6.5 percent of the Japanese company, reportedly traveled to Tokyo this past weekend to deliver a letter to Sony’s top executives, which was obtained by the New York Times and Bloomberg.
In it, Loeb both praised their efforts to turn around the company, which saw its stock price hit a 20-year low in December but has since doubled its share price. However, he said that, by spinning off a significant portion of its entertainment business, Sony could “focus” on reviving its electronics business -- which owns the popular EOS digital camera and the Playstation computer game console -- while offering better returns for shareholders.
“While Third Point supports your agenda for change, we also believe that to succeed, Sony must focus,” Loeb wrote in his letter.
Sony, with a market value approaching $20 billion, operates two major entertainment divisions: Sony Pictures Entertainment, which owns the Spider-Man film franchise, and Sony Music Entertainment, which owns Columbia Records, Epic Records and RCA Records.
Loeb also suggested Sony consider spinning off its insurance arm, which accounted for a significant portion of Sony’s profits in the last quarter. Sony Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai is scheduled to present next week details of his turnaround plan for the company.