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U.S. hedge fund raises Sony stake

Kyodo

U.S. hedge fund Third Point LLC said it has increased its stake in Sony Corp. to around 7 percent, in an apparent attempt to exert more influence as it urges the electronics giant to spin off its lucrative entertainment business.

Third Point said Monday in a letter sent to Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai that funds it manages have increased their stake in the manufacturer to 70 million shares valued at ¥136.5 billion, up from 64 million shares, equivalent to a 6.3 percent stake.

In May, Third Point proposed that Sony sell a 15 to 20 percent share of its entertainment business in an initial public offering.

“We expect that this transaction will strengthen rather than diminish Sony’s ability to exploit meaningful synergies between the entertainment and electronics divisions, a goal we share,” Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb said.

The hedge fund said it has raised the stake because it has grown in confidence over Sony’s direction under Hirai’s leadership, while proposing that he serve as chairman of the boards of both the entertainment division and Sony to promote synergies.

Third Point has not asked that its proposals be taken up at a Sony shareholders’ meeting slated for Thursday.

“Although we have not yet been asked to discuss our ideas with the company’s investment bankers or board, we would like to do so promptly,” the letter said.