Dan Loeb Pushed Sony to Spin Off Semiconductor Business

An article in Bloomberg reports that activist investor Dan Loeb, who disclosed a $1.5 billion stake in Sony Corp, is encouraging the company to make “dramatic” changes including spinning off its semiconductor business and listing it in Japan.

A letter and presentation by Loeb’s firm Third Point also called for Sony—described as the leader in image sensors used in smartphones and digital cameras–to sell its insurance business and stakes in Spotify, arguing that if the company executes on its long-term vision, the “new” entity would be worth $35 billion within five years.

Third Point is quoted: “We rarely find companies like Sony that have a depressed valuation, high-quality underlying businesses, numerous options for portfolio optimization, and a capable management team.” But the article reports that some analysts have questioned the proposal, arguing that the chip unit is better served as a part of a larger group, adding that last month Sony’s CEO Kenichiro Yoshida highlighted his commitment to the business by unveiling plans for new chip designs that include artificial intelligence features.

The article says that Loeb—known for his aggressive tactics when criticizing management teams– proposed a partial spin off of Sony’s entertainment business back in 2013 but was unsuccessful. However, the article says, “it did result in changes including the replacement of executives at its film division.”