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Third Point continues to hold Sony shares

US activist investor likely to have a say over Japanese technology conglomerate

Sony may still be in talks with an activist investor who over the years has called on the group to spin off its movie and entertainment unit as well as its semiconductor business. (Photo by Masayuki Kozono)

TOKYO -- A U.S. activist investor that had repeatedly urged Sony to offload its noncore businesses continues to maintain holdings in the iconic company, Nikkei learned on Monday.

Third Point said in a report submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that by June it had sold all of the American Depositary Receipts in Sony it held. But it also has shares in Tokyo-listed Sony, a person familiar with the matter told the Nikkei Asian Review, and the investor is likely to be in an active dialogue with the company.

An ADR is a U.S. bank-issued certificate representing shares in a foreign company for trade on American stock exchanges. It has the same value as stock, and holders can exercise voting rights.

Third Point declined to comment on how many Sony shares it currently holds.

Third Point is an activist fund run by billionaire investor Daniel Loeb. The fund had about 670,000 ADRs, or 0.05% of Sony, at the end of March. According to an investment report submitted on Aug. 17, it had sold these ADRs in the April-June quarter.

In Japan, an investor who acquires more than 5% of outstanding shares of a listed company, including ADRs, is required to file a large shareholding report with the relevant local finance bureau. Third Point has not submitted such a report in recent months, so its holding ratio is less than 5%, including ADRs and direct shareholdings.

Third Point began urging Sony to spin off its movie and entertainment unit in 2013, when it announced it had acquired Sony shares. The fund subsequently acquired Sony shares again and in 2019 publicly called for the company to spin off its semiconductor business and to sell shares of Sony Financial Holdings, a publicly listed subsidiary. The fund also sent similar letters to investors in January.

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