Earlier this week the CEO of hedge fund Third Point, Daniel Loeb, reiterated his desire for Sony to sell a minority interest in its entertainment assets. The fund now controls 6.9% of the conglomerate and Loeb believes CEO Kazuo Hirai should chair Sony, and a board specially created for the movie, TV, and music properties if the company follows Third Point’s proposal to sell as much as a 20% stake in them to the public. At Sony’s annual shareholders meeting in Tokyo on Thursday, Hirai said the company would “appropriately” consider Third Point’s proposal, but indicated a decision would not be imminent. “The entertainment business plays an important role in Sony’s future growth… This proposal strikes at the heart of what kind of company Sony ultimately will become in the future. We intend to take our time in discussing it,” he said, according to Dealbook. Some analysts are not so bullish on Sony spinning off the entertainment assets. In an open letter ahead of the meeting, Jefferies’ Atul Goyal suggested the company should spin off electronics instead. Sony stock would gain from a content spin-off, but “Sony would lose access to 80% of cash flow of Sony content and taxation inefficiencies would increase,” he wrote. Funds raised from an electronics spin-off could be used to fund expansion on the content side, he added. In May, Sony reported its full fiscal year earnings with a net profit of $458M, the first annual profit in five years. It also forecast a further increase in profits for the next fiscal year.
Also at the shareholders meeting, Sony elected three new members to its board. They include MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito, McDonald’s Japan chief Eikoh Harada and retired Sony Network Entertainment International president Tim Schaaff.