Sony in $760m Olympus stake sale after Loeb’s prodding

TOKYO: Sony Corp is selling its 5 per cent stake in Olympus Corp back to the Japanese medical equipment maker for 80.4 billion yen ($762.88 million), a move that Daniel Loeb’s activist hedge fund Third Point LLC had called for.
This is the first strategic move Sony has made that is in line with US-based Third Point’s proposals since Loeb, one of the world’s highest-profile activist investors, revealed earlier this year he was building a stake again in the company.
A Sony spokeswoman said the sale was not in response to demand by specific shareholders, adding that the company is still reviewing Third Point’s proposals.
Sony will sell 68.9 million Olympus shares at Thursday’s closing price of 1,165 yen by participating in Olympus’ share buyback plan.
Sony bought 11.5 per cent of Olympus in 2012-13, paying 50 billion yen in a much-needed cash injection for the latter after an accounting scandal sent Olympus’ share price plummeting. Sony later halved its stake to finance its own restructuring.
Sony said in a statement it decided to sell “considering that the initial purpose of the capital alliance to establish collaboration between Sony and Olympus has been accomplished and after reviewing the rationale for owning the Olympus shares.” — Reuters