Sony Corp. has been exploring the sale of its Sony/ATV Music Publishing unit, the company’s recently leaked internal emails suggest.
The music publisher, co-owned by Sony SNE, +0.38% and the estate of the late pop star Michael Jackson, is the world’s biggest and is highly profitable, according to people familiar with the matter. Estimated to be worth between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, it owns the copyrights to most of the Beatles’ songs, among thousands of others.
It was unclear from documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal whether Sony is considering selling just its stake in the venture, or whether the whole unit might be put up for sale. Also unclear was the price Sony expects the publishing business to fetch, or when the company might try to sell it. Spokesmen for Sony and Sony/ATV declined to comment.
For Sony, the potential sale would represent an easy and logical way to raise cash to prop up its long-struggling electronics division, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking. Sony posted a $1.2 billion net loss for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
The possible sale of Sony/ATV was mentioned in emails last month between top Sony executives. The emails were among the thousands of documents leaked several weeks ago by hackers trying to stop the release of the Sony Pictures film “The Interview,” a lowbrow comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. U.S. officials have blamed the cyberattack on North Korea, and President Barack Obama last week promised a “proportional response.” North Korea temporarily lost Internet connectivity Monday, though the U.S. hasn’t taken responsibility for the outage.
Source: Market Watch