Hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb has apparently had a change of heart about Sony.
Tuesday afternoon, he disavowed his verbal assault on the Japanese company and push for it to sell its entertainment assets. Speaking with Variety, a publication his firm Third Point has invested in, he also praised a high-profile critic of his -- George Clooney.
Loeb, who previously crusaded against Yahoo management, has recently had Sony in his sights. After amassing a seven percent stake in the company, he called for the company to spin-off at least a percentage of entertainment assets, which include the film and TV studio. He then proceeded to mock the studio for releasing the modern equivalent of notorious bombs "Ishtar" and "Waterworld" in one summer -- After Earth" and "White House Down" -- in a letter to investors.
That prompted George Clooney to speak out, and label Loeb "the single least qualified person" to be offering advice on the film business.
On Monday, Sony management said it would not spin-off the entertainment assets. A day later, Loeb left the venom at home. When asked about his comments on those movies, he demurred and said "at this point it is more productive to support management and the goals advanced by Mr. Hirai" in a letter he wrote to Loeb promising more transparency and accountability at the film studio.
Though he did not explicitly say Third Point would stop calling for the spin-off, he did not press ahead either. When Loeb was mounting a similar crusade at Yahoo, he ignored the board's rebuffs and soldiered on, eventually toppling CEO Scott Thompson.
Loeb also declined to criticize Clooney, who called Loeb a "carpet bagger." Instead, Loeb said he "admired" the actor, director and producer, arguing their "interests are aligned."
Loeb chose Variety as the outlet to convey his conciliatory sentiments. Hirai's letter was printed in full on Deadline. Loeb is an investor in Penske Media Corp., which owns both Variety and Deadline.
Loeb denied TheWrap's request for comment. Loeb is not an investor in TheWrap.