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Sony CEO Stresses Value of Sony Pictures Entertainment at Strategy Briefing

TOKYO — Sony Corp. CEO Kenichiro Yoshida underscored the importance of Sony Pictures Entertainment to the conglomerate’s strategy going forward at a media briefing Tuesday, citing the global boom in subscription streaming services.

The comments from Yoshida, who hosted the session with SPE chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra, come amid industry consolidation and possible pressure from activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose Three Point hedge fund recently upped its Sony holdings by $63 million.

In 2013, Loeb publicly urged Sony to sell off part of its entertainment businesses to boost shareholder value. Sony rejected that proposal, but speculation remains that Loeb will renew his call for the company to unload Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“The proliferation of subscription streaming services has increased the demand for music and video entertainment content,” Yoshida said. “This is acting as a tailwind for companies like Sony that own businesses which produce music and video content such as movies, television shows and animation.”

Yoshida added that SPE “can be said to have a unique market position.” First, he explained, as one of the few remaining independent studios, “We can sell our content to multiple services.” Second, he continued, Sony has “a large content library that can be revitalized,” as well as rights to more than 900 Marvel characters. Third, as a member of the Sony Group, SPE can develop synergies with other Sony entertainment companies.

“We believe that the diverse opportunities that are available to creators across our music, video and gaming business, as well as our technology, enhance the possibility that top-level creators will want to work with us,” said Yoshida.

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