Daniel Loeb Says He And George Clooney Want Same Things For Sony
Third Point Shuffles Sony Shares But It Remains A “Core” Investment
The CEO of Third Point says that George Clooney was “a little hyperbolic” in August when the actor — in an interview with my colleague Mike Fleming Jr – defended Sony Entertainment execs from the hedge fund manager’s attacks. Daniel Loeb just told The New York Times’ DealBook’s Opportunities for Tomorrow Conference that Clooney “misinterpreted” the effort to persuade Sony to divest a minority stake in its movie, TV and music properties: He and Clooney want the same thing, Loeb says, “less spending on overhead and more on films.” Indeed, Loeb says, “I’d love to meet [Clooney] some time and talk these things over.” Sony rejected the investor’s stock sale proposal, but he says that he’s satisfied with the outcome of his campaign. “The reason we wanted the spin off is because we wanted transparency” — which he expects to see later this month when Sony Entertainment execs plan to meet with investors. “I see that as a great outcome for us.” Loeb also says he has “a good relationship” with Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, who he has met twice including at a breakfast a few weeks ago. Loeb’s much friendlier than he was in July when he attacked the studio saying that its summer films After Earth and White House Down had “bombed spectacularly.” He added that they were “2013′s versions of Waterworld and Ishtar” and that it was “perplexing” that the company gave “free passes” to Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-CEOs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, who he called “the executives responsible for these debacles.” Clooney responded that a “guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.” Loeb is an investor in Variety with Deadline’s parent company, PMC.