Fund pressuring Sony buys Disney

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Fund pressuring Sony buys Disney

Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, the hedge fund pressing Sony to sell part of its entertainment business, acquired a $113.7 million stake in Walt Disney, extending his bet on the industry.

Third Point held 1.8 million shares of Burbank, California-based Disney at the end of June, according to a regulatory filing yesterday by the New York-based investor. He also held options to buy 32,000 more, the filing showed.

Loeb was buying the stock as he pressed Tokyo-based Sony to sell as much as 20 percent of its film, TV and music business in an initial public offering. The company rejected that call this month, saying the entertainment business is a crucial part of its corporate strategy. Loeb said he was “disappointed” and would continue to seek a dialogue with the company.

Elissa Doyle, a spokeswoman for Third Point, declined to comment on the holdings. Zenia Mucha, a spokeswoman for Disney, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Disney fell 2.5 percent to $62.38 at the close in New York on Thursday, valuing Loeb’s shares at about $112 million. The company has a market value of more than $111 billion and has gained 25 percent this year. A trust associated with late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is the largest investor with a 7.3 percent stake.

Loeb’s filing didn’t show shares of Sony. The investor said in a June 17 letter to Sony Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai that Third Point owned 70 million shares through direct ownership and cash-settled swaps as of mid-June, and is interested in representation on Sony’s board.

The entertainment unit of Sony came under criticism from Loeb amid disappointing box-office sales this year for two film releases: “After Earth” and “White House Down.” Loeb pushed for a partial sale of the division as a way to boost the performance and accountability of Sony’s entertainment unit.

Third Point also holds shares of Yahoo! valued at $1.56 billion, two classes of shares in Liberty Global Plc, the international cable TV service controlled by billionaire John Malone, and an investment in 21st Century Fox, the film and TV company controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The investor also added 845,000 shares of Deerfield, Illinois-based fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings in the second quarter, valued at about $144.9 million at the end of June, according to the filing.

Third Point originally disclosed the investment in the largest U.S. producer of nitrogen fertilizer in its second-quarter letter to investors last month, without specifying the size of the stake.

Third Point also bought 8.5 million American depository receipts of Irish pharmaceutical company Elan, valued at $120.2 million. Last month, Perrigo, a U.S. maker of over-the-counter medicines, agreed to buy Elan for $8.6 billion.


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