Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai Says Daniel Loeb Helped Put Spotlight on Entertainment Assets (Report)

In one of his first public comments since rejecting a proposal by activist shareholder Dan Loeb to spin off part of Sony Corp.'s entertainment business, CEO Kazuo Hirai said Thursday that the initiative was "actually a good thing."

Telling the Wall Street Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, that he continues to believe Sony was better off fully owning its film and music operations, he said: "I have a fairly good relationship with the folks from [Loeb's hedge fund] Third Point, including Dan."

Sony Rejects Entertainment Spin-Off in Letter to Third Point's Daniel Loeb

Hirai did acknowledge though that Loeb's push was warranted to some degree, particularly in highlighting the need for greater transparency in the entertainment operations.

"Dan Loeb and Third Point shed a light on the entertainment properties that we've been trying to shed a light on for the longest time," Hirai told the Journal.

The CEO also acknowledged that profit margins in Sony's entertainment business should be higher and that the film unit should refine its movie greenlighting process, according to the Journal. He didn't provide further details. Sony Corp. is the parent company of Sony Music, the second largest music label behind Vivendi's Universal Music Group.

Third Point's Daniel Loeb Calling for Sony To Spin-off Entertainment Business

As the Journal pointed out, In Hirai’s 18 months as CEO, Sony's revenues have increased as its "TV business turned profitable in the latest quarter for the first in three years. And its latest smartphones and digital cameras have been well-received, while the yet-to-be-released PlayStation 4 is generating strong buzz online.”

Sony is scheduled to hold investor events focused on its entertainment assets in November.