Sony may split off its profitable entertainment division from the rest of the company and take it public, Bloomberg reports. The possibility grew out of one shareholder’s suggestion, but Sony has now hired Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to assist in formulating an initial public offering for Sony Entertainment, an umbrella that includes its movie, TV, music, and video game businesses.
The shareholder in question is billionaire Daniel Loeb, CEO of Third Point LLC and owner of six percent of Sony. He voiced the suggestion earlier this month in a letter to Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, explaining that a 20-percent sell-off of the company’s entertainment assets as an IPO could help to reinvigorate its struggling electronics business. Despite recent gains, the television division, for instance, has lost two-thirds of it market value in the last five years alone. The audio division isn’t fairing much better either.
At first the suggestion was taken as just that- a suggestion. Although Loeb is an influential shareholder, his recommendation was unasked for. The fact that Sony is now actively consulting with two major financial groups, however, suggests that the scenario Loeb painted may become a reality. At the very least, Sony is actively investigating the possibility.
Sony, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley all refused to comment on the matter.