June 18, 2013 / 1:07 AM / 4 years ago

Third Point raises Sony stake, presses for entertainment spin-off

Sony Corp's logo is seen at the company headquarters in Tokyo May 22, 2013.Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - New York-based hedge fund company Third Point said it had raised its stake in Japan's Sony Corp and asked for an opportunity to present its proposal to Sony's board for a partial spin-off of the company's entertainment unit.

The move comes after Third Point, a $13 billion (8.2 billion pounds) hedge fund founded by billionaire investor Daniel Loeb, last month proposed that the struggling electronics maker conduct an initial public offering for its profitable music and movie business, saying it could boost Sony's share price by as much as 60 percent.

In a letter addressed to Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai prior to the annual general meeting of the Japanese electronics maker on Thursday, Third Point said it had increased its stake in Sony to 70 million shares, valued at $1.4 billion, from 64 million shares previously.

Of the total, Third Point had 46 million ordinary shares of Sony valued at $944 million and 24 million shares valued at $492 million through cash-settled swaps.

Third Point's stake in Sony has now risen to about 7 percent from around 6.3 percent in May when the hedge fund company first announced its proposal to spin off Sony's entertainment business, according to Thomson Reuters calculations.

"Given our large stake, we reiterate our offer to serve on Sony's board of directors," the fund said in its letter reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.

Third Point said it had no further comment. Sony declined to comment on Third Point's announcement, saying it would closely review the content.

Sony shares were up 3.6 percent, outperforming a 0.4 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average.

Reporting by Chikafumi Hodo and Reiji Murai; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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