Sony consults banks over its label business

City A.M. Reporter
SONY has tapped Morgan Stanley and Citigroup to help sound out options for its entertainment business, reports said last night.

Cable television network CNBC reported that Sony has hired the two banks but that the process was still in an exploratory stage. CNBC cited an unnamed source.

Billionaire hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb has called on Sony to spin off its lucrative US-based entertainment arm, which includes one of Hollywood’s top film studios and a leading music label.

Loeb said his Third Point hedge fund had accumulated a little more than six per cent of Sony’s shares, a stake worth $1.1bn, making Third Point the largest stakeholder in the company that invented the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron TV.

Asked about Loeb’s proposal at the AllThingsD conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Sony’s chief executive Kazuo Hirai said: “We need to give it serious consideration and come to a decision and move on.”

Sony’s shares in the US closed up 3.68 per cent yesterday, reaching $20.84, with rumours circulating that it will launch the Xperia L4, a so-called phablet, to rival Samsung and Apple models.