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Thats Entertainment! Sony Ponders Sale

By Oonagh Reidy | Friday | 21/06/2013

Sony CEO promises "bold measures" as the firm mulls over proposals to sell entertainment arm.

Sony says its board will "appropriately" consider the proposal from US hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb to list part of its entertainment division to help lift the share price. 

But the decision won't be made fast, or without deep soul searching, Sony CEO, Kazuo Hirai, told the AGM yesterday, in Tokyo. The Japanese giant owns the hugely successful Sony Pictures and Sony Music.  

Hirai admitted investors movies and music were core to Sony's revival, reports Bloomberg.

Loeb's Third Point fund, which owns 7% of Sony shares, is proposing to sell 20% of its entertainment assets to unlock the value of a company riddled by losses and falling behind in the lucrative mobile race against big guns Samsung and Apple. 

"We will look at this from all angles and it's not something that will be completed in a short period of time," Mr. Hirai said. 

"This is a very critical proposal that will affect the future of Sony." 

Share price has risen over 7%  since Loeb's bold proposal earlier this week. 

Hirai spoke of the former tech kingpin's "bolder" future measures, predicting growth in smartphone business and gaming with new the PS4, bringing the TV division back to profitability and new businesses.  

"My mission this year is to turn to a more aggressive approach with bolder measures," Hirai told investors in Tokyo. 

"We expect our smartphone operation will improve earnings. Making the TV unit profitable is a goal that must be met, we will accelerate expansion in emerging markets and new businesses." 

New board members, including two former Apple execs, were also appointed at the meeting, which marks ex-CEO Howard Stringers departure. 

There's little doubt Sony has been upping the ante lately - unleashing 4K TV at attractive $6000 pricetag - cheaper  than Samsung and LG. Last week it unveiled the "world's thinnest ultrabook" and a slew of sleek, sassy Vaio's at Intel's 4th generation processor launch in Sydney. 

Its Xperia One is also one of the most popular smartphones in Australia at the moment, a Telstra exec told CN last week, along with Samsung Galaxy and HTC One Android phones.  

Sony launched its first portable hard drive in the Aussie market this month. 

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