Sony Chief Hints Shakeup May Be Near At Film Unit

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Changes may be afoot at Sony Pictures -- changes that will be pressed by company management in Tokyo, Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai has told the Wall Street Journal. In an interview with the newspaper, Hirai indicated that he has taken criticism by Dan Loeb and his Third Point LLC to heart. 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, he said. Until now, the newspaper observed, Hirai has been focusing on fixing Sony's struggling electronics division and now intends to devote greater attention to its entertainment unit, which saw its share of U.S. box-office receipts fall to 10.1 percent this year from 16.6 percent last year. In addition to further cost restructuring, he indicated, the parent company will take a more hands-on approach in the decision to greenlight movies. Moreover, in an effort to improve transparency, it will hold an investor day to discuss the studio's strategy. While again rejecting Loeb's recommendation that Sony spin off part of its entertainment arm, Hirai appeared to indicate that he agreed with Loeb's criticism of the unit's U.S. management. If I get a nice letter pointing out some issues that he thinks are legitimate, then why should I be combative? he asked.



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