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Sony mulls spinoff; cuts target for cameras

Reuters  Tokyo, May 22, 2013
First Published: 22:42 IST(22/5/2013) | Last Updated: 22:43 IST(22/5/2013)

Sony Corp cut its sales targets for digital cameras, smartphones and tablets by 13-17% for the year to end-March 2015, but said there were “encouraging” signs of a revival in its electronics business.


CEO Kazuo Hirai told a press briefing on Wednesday that Sony would assess a proposal from its biggest shareholder, billionaire Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC hedge fund, that the group should sell up to a fifth of its music and movies business, which includes artists such as Adele and hit franchises like “Spider-Man”.

Loeb argues a partial spin-off of Sony Entertainment would free up cash to help the struggling electronics division and could boost Sony’s stock price by 60%.

Third Point’s “proposal is one that affects a core part of Sony’s business and the direction of our management, so the Sony board will give it thorough consideration before replying to Loeb,” Hirai said.

Sony trimmed its 2014-15 camera sales target to 1.3 trillion yen and now expects smartphone and tablet sales of 1.5 trillion yen.

“While there are encouraging signs of change, the revival of our electronics business remains our task,” Hirai said, pointing to strong demand for Sony’s new Xperia smartphone and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

He said Sony was keeping to its strategy to revive the struggling business around cameras and mobile and PlayStation gaming devices.

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