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Sony Shares Jump Amid Report It Will Consider Showbiz Spinoff Plan

Shares in Sony Corp. jumped more than 9% in early Tokyo trading on Wednesday after a Japanese paper reported that the Sony board will consider a proposal from major shareholder Daniel Loeb’s Third Point to spin off parts of its entertainment businesses.

The Japanese publication Nikkei reported that Sony’s board is considering evaluating the proposal by hiring outside parties to determine how much it could add to the corporate value. Shares closed at $22.91 on Tuesday, also notable because it was the same day that Microsoft introduced a new version of the XBox. Shares were up 9.75% in early hours of trading on Wednesday in Tokyo.

Sony is holding a corporate strategy meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Loeb presented a letter to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai calling for an initial public offering of 15% to 20% of the company’s entertainment assets, on the rationale that they are undervalued by the market as investors focus on the company’s electronics business. Loeb, the hedge fund manager, also said in the letter that Third Point had become Sony’s largest shareholder, with a 6.5% stake.

Sony last week insisted that it was “not for sale,” but said that it would continue to have a “constructive dialogue” with its shareholders. Loeb’s letter, while arguing that its entertainment assets were undervalued, nevertheless said that a spinoff would help inject a “more disciplined management approach” to Sony Entertainment. Shares jumped the day that the letter was made public.

Third Point backed Penske Media’s acquisition of Variety in 2012.

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