Sony has said it is examining a plan to sell off part of its movies and music business. The proposal was made by Sony's biggest shareholder who wants the struggling Japanese electronics giant to regain profitability.
Sony board members were examining a proposal to sell up to 20 percent of its entertainment unit under efforts to unlock value for the Japanese electronics maker as a whole, the company's Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai told a news conference Wednesday.
Hirai also said the plan was proposed by Daniel Loeb, the head of hedge fund Third Point and with a shareholding of 6 percent Sony biggest single stockholder.
"At this point, we don't have a schedule as to when we do what," Hirai said, adding that the company's board members were always hopeful to engage in positive discussions with shareholders.
Hirai noted that he didn't believe Loeb was proposing Sony make its entertainment business a separate entity, but rather wanted to go public with the part of the company in question.
Sony's entertainment arm is hugely profitable, making money on the firm's stock of movie, television and music rights which it had accumulated mainly in the past decades. By contrast, the Japanese firm's computer and TV business has slumped dramatically in recent years.
Earlier this month, Sony reported its first annual net profit in five years. However, it was mainly driven by a weakening Japanese currency and a string of property sales.
CEO Kazuo Hirai, who became Sony president a year ago, aims to revitalize the company's electronics business, focusing on mobile devices, imaging and games.
Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb said he supported Hirai's bid to shake up Sony, adding that money from the sale could be used to shore up the firm's ailing electronics manufacturing unit.
uhe/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)