Activist shareholder Loeb pushes Sony to sell media assets

Activist investor Dan Loeb, best known for once accusing former Yahoo! chief executive Scott Thompson of falsifying his education records, is now urging Sony to sell its media assets.

According to Reuters, Loeb, the founder and chief executive of hedge fund Third Point, recently acquired around $US1.1 billion in shares in the struggling Japanese electronics giant.

Since then, Loeb has sent a letter to Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai arguing the electronics giant should spin off its media assets, including investments in the music industry and cinemas.

The Wall Street Journal reports Loeb’s view has found a sympathetic ear among some analysts.

“Investors look at Sony with the perception that it is an electronics company and attach the lower valuation of an electronics company to the overall firm,” said Tokyo-based Citigroup analyst Kota Ezawa.

“We think the entertainment business is undervalued.”

However, at this stage, Sony’s management is reluctant to sell its entertainment assets.

As SmartCompany reported in May of last year, Loeb accused Thompson of falsely claiming to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science in Yahoo!’s regulatory filings.

Loeb claimed Thompson had only earned a degree in accounting.

Shortly after the accusation, Thompson resigned as chief executive of the company, with Marissa Mayer eventually hired as his replacement.

Third Point owned around 5.8% of Yahoo! at the time.

Meanwhile, Sony has struggled in the market in recent years.

In April of last year, Hirai responded to a record $US 6.4 billion loss at the company by announcing a new strategy called One Sony, along with 10,000 job cuts worldwide.

By November, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the troubled electronics maker to one notch above junk-bond status.


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