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back to article Sony's board debates breaking up with Spider-Man

Sony has said that it will consider a proposal from activist investor Daniel Loeb that the group should sell off parts of its music and movies business, which includes popular franchises Spider-Man and Resident Evil and the weepy ballads of Brit crooner Adele. Chief exec Kazuo Hirai told reporters from the Financial Times, …

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps they should consider a cross licensing deal to allow Spidey to appear in Avengers 2 :)

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Joke

Re: troll warning

Just to go full nerd(retard). I want to see a Bucky (old school version) vs Galactus special edition.

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Devil

How about a stock buyback??? Seems like smarter move...lots smarter than giving in to Loeb

I get really sick of militant investors especially hedge funds telling companies to gut thier business model "Or Else". The Dell vs Icahn thing is the same issue.

My ADVICE: Buy back ALL your stock and tell Loeb to "Piss Off and Die!" Do not negotiate with pisspot terrorists.

The fact is that having a variety of income sources is GOOD for a company like SONY. When Hardware is in the dumps then Entertainment can help even out the peaks and valleys and vice versa.

You know Daniel, they call it "Diversification".

Except you have the same mindset that you and all other high finance Pirates have, that you know best except you have never "built" anything, all you know how to do is rob, cheat and steal so your "Investors" (fellow frikkin pirates) can reap the rewards of killing another good company, fire it's employees, steal their pensions, rape their families (figuratively) and whatever else scum like you do.

So Mr. Loeb, why don't you learn to be something other than a parasite.

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Re: How about a stock buyback??? Seems like smarter move...lots smarter than giving in to Loeb

>You know Daniel, they call it "Diversification"

Only if the divisions don't conflict with the success of each other. Sony should have stayed focused on hardware. Samsung wouldn't be near as big as it is if they had.

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Trollface

Re: How about a stock buyback??? Seems like smarter move...lots smarter than giving in to Loeb

How come those that preach how the only responsibility of a company are to the shareholders are the first to turn on shareholders that try to hold boards and senior management accountable? I guess its the whole defend the status quo of the machine at any cost knee jerk reaction. Mr. Loeb would be safely ignored if what Sony was doing was working at all. Instead they have lost tens of billions of dollars total and lost money every year for the last half decade straight. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Board doesn't get the luxury of ignoring reality like the fanbois.

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Stop

Re: How about a stock buyback??? Seems like smarter move...lots smarter than giving in to Loeb

You cant buy back stocks with money you do not have. A stock buyback is great if You have money in the bank with no idea how to spend (Apple, IBM, Intel etc). But Sony is deep in the red, so they have to wrestle out all the vaules they can find.

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Re: How about a stock buyback??? Seems like smarter move...lots smarter than giving in to Loeb

Companies are generally better off being focussed on a core set of operations.

Diversification should be done by the shareholders, not the companies. That way, if you want to buy an electronics manufacturer, you might choose Sony, and if you want to invest in "Hollywood", you buy Sony Entertainment.

Right now, investors wanting the former are put off Sony because it also owns Sony Entertainment, and vice versa.

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Devil

I don't like scrapyard investors

... but Loeb is right on one thing: the "Entertainment" arm of Sony that isn't "Playstation" is very much responsible of the evil karma attributed to Sony these days. Remember the rootkit fiasco? That was "Sony"-BMG, emphasis with BMG. Hollywood studios and recording industries are the ones that love sticking DRM and stupidity up consumer's butts, and they managed to infest the whole Sony hardware division. See the Playstation 3, originally pandering to the scientific and Linux community, then doing a 180 when a lame non-working "hack" was demonstrated by GeoHot.

Their Entertainment arm has poisoned Sony. Maybe they would be better off spinning out the thing, while still reaping from the Entertainment profits...

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Re: Companies are generally better off being focussed on a core set of operations.

Your mileage may vary depending on the definition of 'core operations.'

For instance, a division that grows kidney beans, chilli peppers and beef might integrate well with a division that cooks, cans, and distributes US style chilli. Whereas it wouldn't work well with a division that makes white wine.

The real key is whether or not within your organization you have levels at which core operations are the focus. Even within a company diversification can help stabilize short term problems. The issue is, when you are "borrowing" money from your profitable division to tide over the unprofitable one, you have to be fixing whatever is broken at the unprofitable one. If not, you have to either close the unprofitable one, or spin it off to someone who thinks they can fix it.

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hmm

The stupid thing about this is wasn't done more than a decade ago back when Sony still mattered. The worst thing that ever happened to Sony's hardware division was the company buying a media studio in the late 1980s. After that disruptive new technologies Sony used to be famous for were no longer allowed. Only ones that protected its media side's business models. In fact one can make a strong argument we say iPod and iPhone instead of iWalkman or whatever because of this. So today Apple is the largest company in the world and Sony is one fifth the size it was in its heyday and struggling to survive.

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Re: hmm

>we say iPod and iPhone instead of iWalkman or whatever

To clarify Sony was very slow to bring out an mp3 player and even when they did it it was so hobbled (see ATRAC fail) intentionally by the media side of the business that the public largely ignored it. Media studios make shitty hardware and even the general public knows it. DRM products are defective by design and Sony is one of the last companies that still thinks DRM is viable long term and still the biggest creator/patron of DRM schemes.

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AGR

Re: hmm

Not to mention their virtual suppression of the DAT recording technology - after buying Columbia - that was on its way to becoming affordable enough to allow DIY musicians the ability to distribute their work in digital format. How much different the music industry would have been had Sony not bought Columbia and hitched its wagon to the Mob-style tactics of music industry lawyers.

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Pint

Whatever...

I'm probably one of the few here but I didn't quite enjoy the Spiderman movies, at all. And it's for the same reason why I didn't like many comics which were based on famous (animated) movies back in the days when I was a kid: the storyline often diverts from the main environment that it becomes "different". Sometimes these changes are subtle, sometimes they're huge.

I think that back in the days they should have considered making animation movies out of all this while making sure you keep true to the story.

Quite frankly the only Spiderman series I did heavily enough (enough to buy the DVD sets for all 5 seasons) was the Animated series (link to Wikipedia). It also introduced some diversions to the main storyline, but none of them would intrude or plain out collide with the spidey character as we knew it.

For this same reason I also favour the X-Men animated series (link to Wikipedia) over the movies, even though I like the X-Men movies, a lot better than the Spidey movies too. I have 1 & 2 on DVD but didn't care at all for the last one. Once again because it heavily diverted from the "main" plot and started to make it look ridiculous in my opinion (Xavier defeated by the Phoenix? Yeah right...).

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Re: Whatever...

I didn't enjoy the Spiderman movies either, but that's because I never even cared about Spiderman at all. Not quite sure why, but it was one of my least favorite superheroes. (I did however like the Spiderman Unlimited animated series. Too bad it ended in an unresolved cliffhanger.)

I also prefer the X-Men animated series; that one is probably responsible for bringing the X-Men into the mainstream audience. The movies were good, though they deviate from the main plot, agreed that 3 just went way off course.

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Facepalm

Perhaps the better option?

Would be to spin out the Sony hardware side, and give that a new name instead.

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Re: Perhaps the better option?

It probably wouldn't survive on its own. People under the age of 30 today associate most Sony hardware with their mediocre TVs that cost 1.5x more than everyone else. Sony has burned a lot of goodwill us older people and with the younger generations who weren't even around when there was Sony's hardware and everyone elses.

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Re: People under the age of 30 today

I'm well over 30 and the only thing positive I associate with Sony is the Walkman, which is long dead technology.

I suppose something in the PS/x series might qualify for some people, but frankly I associate that with those damnable game controllers that don't work for me. I want a big honking joystick/rollerball (or more) and lots of big friendly red or yellow buttons like Atari use to put in their arcade games.

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Goodbye Sony

Even Foxcon has had the demand for new hardware go soft on them as of late, not a good time for Sony to cut off their money maker and throw it all into a hardware only focus. It's so weird to see this, it's like the electronics business that used to be Japans now belongs to S. Korea and China.

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Re: Goodbye Sony

Sadly one could make a strong argument from the shareholder perspective of totally selling off or shunting the hardware division. It has badly lost its way and doesn't even it serve its purpose of helping dictating the needs of the media side in the marketplace because customers are voting with their wallets to pick competitors. Whereas it had almost a monopoly in the living room with the PS2 it now has sold half as many PS3 as PS2 and more than likely will lose money on the PS4 as well. Console gaming is already being affected by phone and tablet gaming from the casual gamers (see WiiU disaster). Sony is really going to have own the market to make much money console wise. Never mind all the other over priced mediocre hardware they put out these days.

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FAIL

Agree with this particular shareholder or not

Sony needs to pull up its britches and make some big boy decisions. They've lost money for years. Made the news recently for having posted a profit for the first time in 5 years(!) this last quarter. Via asset liquidation: selling off a billion dollar building in New York City. Not by anything their business actually produced.

Leadership of the company saying "Trust us, we got a plan" doesn't carry much water here.

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Re: Agree with this particular shareholder or not

> Via asset liquidation: selling off a billion dollar building in New York City.

Ah so the KMart business plan to prosperity then. KMart made more off selling their old store real estate during the boom then they ever did selling cheap Chinese crap to people.

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Spurious connection watch.

"and the weepy ballads of Brit crooner Adele."

Really? She's on XL Records, part of the Beggars Group, a British independent label.

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