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The Big Story

Sony CEO Yoshida navigates coronavirus and activist attacks

New PlayStation launch clouded by pandemic as company seeks to revive innovation

JOHN GAPPER, Nikkei Asian Review editor-at-large, and JADA NAGUMO, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Before the novel coronavirus outbreak began, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida had many reasons to be optimistic. Under his leadership the electronics-to-entertainment conglomerate had regained its momentum, and with it the respect of its shareholders. Yoshida, a quiet and reflective figure, had seen off an attack by the U.S. activist hedge fund Third Point, and was preparing for the launch of the next generation of its iconic PlayStation games console.

As he readies for Sony's full-year results announcement on May 13, and to make its annual strategy presentation to investors a few days later, the world outside the company's 20-story Tokyo headquarters has changed.

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