By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Despite Rumors, SONY Isn’t For Sale


November 7, 2012

Despite rumors making the rounds in Hollywood circles, Culver City’s Sony Pictures Entertainment is not going on the block, according to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai.

"There is absolutely no truth to rumors that Sony's entertainment businesses are for sale," Hirai’s October 30 statement said.

Rumors had been fueled by news stories about Sony making cutbacks to production and by a recent interview with CBS CEO Les Moonves in The Wall Street Journal, in which Moonves stated that he was looking at the possibility of acquiring Sony Entertainment.

Moonves told the Journal that while, as a content company, Sony’s movie and TV businesses interested him, the company does not have any specific plans to acquire Sony.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last year were also rumored to have impacted Sony’s finances.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.

The corporation is divided into electronics, entertainment, and financial services businesses and Hirai’s statement pointed out that these businesses have a stable economic foundation.

However, Sony’s operating income during the last fiscal year was $416 million—which was down by 12 percent from the previous fiscal year. Although some big summer movies boosted the studio’s results during the period that ended September 30, overall revenue was down.

Sony has also announced plans to make two fewer movies per year (that’s 18 to 20 films as opposed to 20 to 22 ) and cut back on development spending by nearly 10 percent (which means buying more completed scripts rather than spending money on rewrites).

Historically, Sony has had the second highest output of films per year among Hollywood studios (Warner Brothers has the highest). Sony will now be running in pace with such studios as Fox and Universal in its total yearly output of product.

Sony Pictures has been located on the former MGM lot in Culver City since 1993. Sony had previously acquired Columbia Pictures and the two studios had shared the Burbank Studios lot in Burbank.

At the time of the acquisition the studio lot, renamed Columbia Pictures, was in poor condition and Sony spent $100 million to renovate the complex.


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