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George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Mon Aug 05 2013, 22:34

Hedge Fund News: Daniel Loeb, Dell Inc. (DELL), Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)

By JAKE MANN in Hedge Funds
Published: August 5, 2013 at 8:45 am


Editor's Note: Related tickers: Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE :RBS), Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES)

George Clooney slams Daniel Loeb over Sony (Telegraph) In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, Mr Clooney, 52, said Mr Loeb was trying to manipulate the film market. "[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpet bagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles," Mr Clooney said, referring to high-profile, big budget films. "What he’s doing is scaring studios and pushing them to make decisions from a place of fear. Why is he buying stock like crazy if he’s so down on things? He’s trying to manipulate the market." Mr Loeb's Third Point hedge fund  owns 7pc of Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) stock and Mr Loeb has been calling for Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) to spin off part of its entertainment arm.

Michael Dell closes in on buyout with $25 billion deal (BusinesssPectator) Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and Chief Executive Michael Dell clinched a new $US25 billion deal on Friday, boosting the bid and offering a special dividend in hopes of ending months of wrangling with opponents of the founder's proposed buyout of the world's No. 3 PC  maker. The new agreement includes a special dividend of 13 cents per share on top of a 10-cent increase in the sale price to $US13.75 per share. In return, Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake convinced the company's special committee to agree to change the voting rules so that abstentions no longer count as opposing votes, a big boost for their camp. Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) shares rose after the announcement. But activist investor Carl Icahn, who has amassed an 8.7 per cent stake in Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and has opposed the buyout offer as too low, vowed to keep fighting.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Tue Aug 06 2013, 03:56

Here an article I found about Laeb

Daniel Loeb Slams Sony Entertainment Saying Summer Films “Bombed Spectacularly”
By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 3:40pm EDTTags: Daniel Loeb, Sony, Third Point

It’s no more Mr. Nice Guy for the founder of hedge fund Third Point, a major investor in Sony. In a letter to his investors today, Daniel Loeb says he’s fed up with the performance of the electronics giant’s movie, TV, and music businesses — which he wants Sony to package in a separate stock, with a minority stake sold to the public. “We were surprised that after Entertainment’s highly touted big budget summer releases — After Earth and White House Down — bombed spectacularly at the box office, CEO [Kazuo] Hirai, speaking at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conferences a few weeks ago, brushed off these failures saying: ‘I don’t worry about the Entertainment business, it’s doing just fine’,” Loeb says.

Calling the films “2013′s versions of Waterworld and Ishtar,” Loeb says it’s “perplexing” that Hirai gave “free passes” to Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-CEOs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, who he called “the executives responsible for these debacles.” Loeb adds that he’s concerned about the studio’s pipeline, which he describes as “bleak, despite overspending on numerous projects.” And the television business “relies on old Merv Griffin Production workhorses like Jeopardy! and Wheel Of Fortune” but “has no hit network television shows, only one major syndicated network show, the Dr. Oz Show, and has missed the market for unscripted television.” Loeb says a stock offering would make the operation more transparent and accountable. “While CEO Hirai focuses on Electronics, Entertainment is in desperate need of proper supervision,” the letter says.

“We believe Sony’s Board, which we understand continues to consider our suggestions, has plenty of reasons to worry about Entertainment and should enact our partial listing proposal quickly.” Loeb is an investor in Variety with Deadline’s parent company PMC.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Tue Aug 06 2013, 04:37

George Clooney Slams Hedge Fund Manager As A ‘‘Carpetbagger’
August 05, 2013

The article below has George Clooney slamming a hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who has criticized Sony for two big flops over the summer.

I love this article because it's art pitted against finance and the two simply don't get one another. Yes, we need money to get art out, but as William Goldman once famously said about Hollywood, "Nobody knows anything."

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What Goldman meant was, no one knows why publisher can get behind a book spectacularly with promotion, book tours and editors who think it's divine -- the next "Alchemist"...and it can bomb in its first week.

But then, some little fan-fiction-writing housewife pens, "50 Shades of Grey" and it does remarkably and is selling millions of copies in a week -- the original book wasn't even EDITED. Nobody knows anything, and that's the problem with finance in the arts. Everything to a business mind is business. There's an algorithm that will make something work -- an equation you punch into the computer and out comes success.

Art is not like that. Art has to capture the minds and the imaginations of people. It has to make them feel something. After the fact, we can all be armchair quarterbacks. Oh, that didn't work because...but the truth is, nobody knows anything.
I stand behind Clooney on this one. A money guy has NO business in the arts. Put up your money and wait for the big hit -- let Hollywood do its job, you do yours. That's just a part of the business. If you want a sure-hit, you go for the low-budget output and wait for the steady stream of income. If you want to make it big, you have to take a risk and dare greatly. If you don't have the stomach for it, you shouldn't be in the business of Hollywood.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Tue Aug 06 2013, 12:20

Sony shares plummet as board rejects Loeb's plan
By Charles Riley  @CRrileyCNN August 6, 2013: 4:04 AM ET

Sony shares plummeted Tuesday after the company formally rejected a plan from hedge fund titan Dan Loeb to spin off its entertainment division.

The refusal came in a letter from CEO Kazuo Hirai that described Sony's movie and music businesses as "critical elements of our strategy" and "fundamental drivers" of future growth.

"After careful review, the Sony board of directors has unanimously concluded that continuing to own 100% of our entertainment business is the best path forward and is integral to Sony's strategy," Hirai said in the letter.

Investors did not take the news well, and Sony shares dropped more than 4.5% in Tokyo trading.

Loeb, an activist shareholder who succeeded in bringing changes to Yahoo (YHOO,Fortune 500), has in recent months amassed a $1.4 billion stake in Sony. As he bought shares, Loeb pressed the company to consider his plan for structural changes that included separating the company's entertainment division.

That division, made up of record labels and television properties, includes the movie studio that recently produced box-office hits Skyfall and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Sony (SNE) shares are still up almost 100% this year, helped by a weaker yen and efforts to restructure its legacy electronics divisions.

Given Japan's famously conservative and inflexible corporate culture, it appeared unlikely that Sony would agree to the spinoff. But Sony said it would consider and study the plan.

As Sony considered, Loeb ratcheted up pressure on the company, sending a letter last month to investors with his Third Point fund that described the entertainment division as "bloated."

The letter said that profits from the division lag behind its competitors, a trend exacerbated by recent summer blockbuster films like After Earth and White House Downthat "bombed spectacularly at the box office."

Loeb also issued a sharp critique of management in the entertainment division, saying the operation has a "famously bloated corporate structure, generous perk packages, high salaries for underperforming senior executives, and marketing budgets that do not seem to be in line with any sense of return on capital invested."

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by mosaic on Tue Aug 06 2013, 21:30

Well, the verbal war has begun between the creative and the cultural:

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These are just my first thoughts after a quick read~~

The title of the piece is written in a condescending way.  "Just STFU and do your movies."  Insulting.

The author brings up the two flops that Loeb complained about--and as George had stated, Loeb picks two flops and ignores the profitable movies.  You can't possibly think that you're going to have hit after hit?  Seriously?  If one never takes a chance and puts stuff out there that may or may not do well at the box office, according to the public's whim, then we'll have what happened to the music industry.  With the exception of Adele and the former Amy Winehouse, I can't think of any new music that is being played on the radio that is good.

From the article:

 But to be clear, and with job-creating growth in mind, if hedge funds didn’t exist we’d have to invent them

Um.. I don't know for sure, but I don't think hedge funds invested in the movie industry when it was created.  Folks used this thing called "cash" to form the studios and then they had this great idea to make some films and then ask people to pay to see them.  Hedge fund investors don't invest until there is a business going already.  And Hedge funds have been known to fail themselves.

I found a history of hedge funds in investopedia:
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More from the article:

   It’s not broadly understood this way, but hedge fund billionaire John Paulson not only saved jobs, but the billions he earned surely created new ones.
 

Seriously?  Where are those jobs, because there are an awful lot of people out of work for all the jobs created by Hedge Funds.

 For taking these risks, hedge funds are not only masterful job creators, they’re also paradoxically masterful job savers for their intrepid style telling others where and where not to go with their capital.

I think I'm going to be sick.

Let me get this straight--they create jobs by telling investors not to invest in a company that might create 100 jobs because....Company A looks better than Company B because Company A is willing to go without a union shop and pay people minimum wage....am I correct...?

Telling Sony to spin off the entertainment portion of its business is not creating jobs.  Sorry, try another line of defense of the doubletalk.


Last edited by mosaic on Wed Aug 07 2013, 01:32; edited 2 times in total

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by silly girl on Tue Aug 06 2013, 22:47

Ashton Kutcher weighs in:

Ashton Kutcher Rings the New York Stock Exchange Bell and Calls Out George Clooney's Business Chops


Given Ashton Kutcher's investments in various tech startups, he might know a thing or two about the way businesses run.
So it should come as little surprise when he turned up on CNBC's Closing Bell Tuesday and not only rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, but was quizzed by Maria Bartiromo on the current state of show business while plugging his role as late Apple founder Steve Jobs in the forthcoming biopic Jobs.
But what did raise a few eyebrows was what Kutcher had to say about fellow Hollywood star George Clooney's view of the entertainment industry after the latter lashed out at hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb for saying Sony should spin off its entertainment divisions after the recent box office failures of After Earth and White House Down.

"Well, I think there's a little bit of naivety on both sides. So, (1) the assumption that you can just walk into an artistic business and understand how that works or how the artistic process works, little bit of naivety on that side," Ashton told Bartiromo. "On the other side, having been in the entertainment business for a long time, you know, some of these companies are extremely bloated. And they do spend money on relationships."
Kutcher's comments came after Clooney suggested to Deadline that the Wall Street wiz doesn't quite understand the way the movie industry works.
"Loeb calls himself an activist investor and I would call him a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles," said the actor-director, whose upcoming drama The Monuments Men is being released by Sony (of which Loeb's Third Point fund is a major investor).

Clooney later added: "I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing. If you look at the industry track record, this business has made a lot of money. It creates a lot of jobs and is still one of the largest exporters in the world."
When asked by Bartiromo how he feels about that view considering the entrepreneurial genius he plays on the big screen was known not to put shareholders first in his quest for innovation, the Two and a Half Men star seemed to agree with Clooney that "some of the processes around the creative process aren't understood."
"Steve Jobs is an example of that, right," continued Kutcher. "There are times when your R&D and your drive and your spin towards innovation come up with nothing. And then there are times when that is the very vitality of your company."

But he ultimately took a middle road in the debate.
"I wouldn't necessarily say that George Clooney or whoever is speaking on behalf of the studios is necessarily 100 percent right. And I wouldn't, at the same time wouldn't say that Dan Loeb's position is [right]," he added. " Now, that being said, Dan Loeb is responsible to a company and is responsible to the efficiencies of the company."
Kutcher concluded by defending the way films are made from the likes of Loeb and other critics, noting "there's a value in the art and creative process as well."

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by it's me on Tue Aug 06 2013, 23:48

Interesting
The debate has a new voice

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by MyG on Wed Aug 07 2013, 00:19

Thanks Ashton! Mutual respect and help works wonders.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by silly girl on Wed Aug 07 2013, 01:36

Loeb responded:

Exclusive Interview: Daniel Loeb Vows to End Sony Spinoff Quest, At Least For Now

Despite Sony Corp.’s rejection of his proposal to spin off as much as 20% of the conglom’s entertainment assets, Third Point Capital CEO Daniel Loeb said he was actually “pleased with the outcome” of his hedge fund’s efforts.

In an exclusive interview, Loeb, whose Third Point owns an estimated 7% of Sony, struck a much more conciliatory tone toward the Japanese electronics giant than he’s demonstrated in recent weeks. He praised Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai’s letter to him, calling it “thoughtfully written and detailed in its discussion of profitability and transparency. There was a lot there for shareholders to hang their hats on.”

Loeb said that the letter had to be viewed in the context of what Third Point was aiming for: greater transparency, accountability and profitability, as well as access to management.

Surprisingly, Loeb also said that he found some commonality with George Clooney, even though the actor last week told Variety’s sister publication Deadline that Loeb “knows nothing about our business.” In an investor letter, Loeb had criticized the performance of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the media likes to create a stir, I admire Mr. Clooney’s passion for Sony and his loyalty to Sony and his friends there,” said Loeb, suggesting that he and Clooney share a “common goal” in that “a more disciplined company with better allocation of capital means less money spent on bureaucracy and more investment in motion pictures. We are all for intelligent investment in creative content. I believe our interests are aligned in a way he probably doesn’t realize.”

Some wonder what next steps, if any, Loeb might take with Sony given that Third Point was initially rebuffed by Yahoo management only to press his case to the point where the CEO was replaced and the company went through a major overhaul.


By contrast, in the case of Sony, Loeb indicated that he would be watching to see how things play out, rather than pursue such a structural overhaul.

“What we would expect is more disclosure and a more detailed plan for how they will improve profitability in their
entertainment division, including specific profitability targets,” he said. “We will monitor their performance in coming quarters and revisit Sony’s progress around the time of next year’s annual meeting.” He said that Third Point will “continue to be highly engaged, maintain a dialogue with management, and expect to offer further suggestions to increase shareholder value.”

Last week, in a letter to investors, Loeb cited Sony’s box office misfires of “After Earth” and “White House Down” as indicative of dysfunction at the company.

But on Tuesday, Loeb declined to talk about the performance of the studio’s most recent release “Smurfs 2″ (which had a disappointing debut) or other films. “We’re really not focused on individual movies or their slate. I know I mentioned that in the last letter, but at this point it is more productive to support management and the goals advanced by Mr. Hirai in his letter.”

He added, “It is probably unfair to focus on one or two bad movies, just in the way that Third Point from time to time can have one or two bad months or a bad year. What is important is the overall profitability and margins over a period of time.”

He said that Third Point succeeded in getting management to focus on the entertainment business, and also having the Wall Street community pay more attention to those assets, noting that analyst price targets have increased by an average 25% since Third Point revealed its stake in Sony.

Loeb noted that he was pleased with Hirai’s statement that Sony has “instituted an even more exacting ‘green light’ process for film production, focusing more intensively on overall slate profitability as well as per film returns on investment.”

Hirai’s acknowledgement that ”our margins should be higher” is a signal that Sony recognizes the need to improve profitability. “The fact that they said that is a big step,” Loeb said. “Before, if you confronted them on peer group margins, they would say those were apples to oranges comparisons.”

Loeb said he was much more satisfied with Sony’s response than that of Yahoo. “Only three months into our investment, Yahoo had completely rebuffed us. The chairman hung up on me in a phone conversation…This is a sharp contrast. The only thing they rebuffed was the spinoff proposal. They took our suggestions seriously and acted on them.”

Asked about Pascal and Lynton, Loeb said, “We support Hirai, and to the extent that he supports his management team and they can meet the board’s initiatives around transparency and profit margin improvement, I see no reason [the current executives] cannot do that. It is a decision for Mr. Hirai to make.”

Third Point is a minority stakeholder in Variety Media, along with majority owner Penske Media Corp., which also owns Deadline.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by mosaic on Wed Aug 07 2013, 01:44

“What we would expect is more disclosure and a more detailed plan for how they will improve profitability in their [/b]entertainment division, including specific profitability targets,” he said. “We will monitor their performance in coming quarters and revisit Sony’s progress around the time of next year’s annual meeting.” He said that Third Point will “continue to be highly engaged, maintain a dialogue with management, and expect to offer further suggestions to increase shareholder value.”

In other words...we're going to micromanage Sony.


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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Aug 07 2013, 02:27

Oh goody! I'm sure Our Hero is absolutely delighted

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Wed Aug 07 2013, 06:03

Here is the letter that Sony sent to Loeb. There is more at the link I'm just posting the letter, too much.

August 6, 2013

Mr. Daniel S. Loeb
Chief Executive Officer
Third Point LLC
390 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear Mr. Loeb:

Thank you for your letters.  We welcome the opportunity to exchange views with our shareholders, and we appreciate that you have shared your perspectives.  We agree with the statement in your May 14, 2013 letter that Sony has “one of the most prestigious entertainment businesses in the world.”  Your investment in Sony has increased the market’s focus on our entertainment businesses, which we welcome.

Since your first letter on May 14, 2013, the Board of Directors and management team, with the assistance of external financial and legal advisors, have thoroughly considered the merits of your proposal for a rights or public offering of 15-20 percent of our entertainment businesses.  Our external financial advisors have met with you and heard your views in more detail.  While we share with you the objectives of increasing profitability and driving shareholder value, after careful review, the Sony Board of Directors has unanimously concluded that continuing to own 100% of our entertainment business is the best path forward and is integral to Sony’s strategy.  We do, however, expect to increase disclosure regarding Sony’s entertainment businesses.  We agree this can help market participants analyze their performance and monitor their success.

I have been a part of the Sony family for nearly 30 years, the last year being my first as CEO.  I have witnessed Sony’s long history of innovation and our passion to create groundbreaking products, content and services that inspire and excite our customers all over the world.  During my tenure as CEO, we have made many changes, and we are encouraged by our progress and the opportunities ahead as we continue to execute on ourOne Sony strategy.  Our strategy includes a commitment to:

•   Further strengthen profitability in the entertainment businesses.  Sony Pictures and Sony Music are critical elements of our strategy and fundamental drivers of Sony’s growth for the future.  We expect that our strategy will result in strong growth and increasing profitability through investing in high-growth, high-margin businesses, particularly in television production and international networks.

In the Pictures business, we are aggressively investing in our global television production business, with 32 new and returning TV series on air in the US this year, including 15 new series in 2013-2014, the most ever for Sony.  We continue to invest in our attractive, high-growth worldwide networks business.  Indeed, we have grown revenue in our worldwide networks business from approximately $600 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 to $1.5 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013.  We are also building upon our diversified film slate strategy, and expect to continue to explore the use of slate financing when it is advantageous to us.

We are very focused on increasing margins at Pictures, including through the growth initiatives described above, and by reducing costs.  While we believe our theatrical marketing costs have been and continue to be in line with our competitors, and that our margins are generally comparable to some other major studios, we recognize that our margins should be higher.  In the year since I became CEO, we have driven growth and profitability in our entertainment businesses, and during that time we have taken additional steps to tighten controls and reduce costs.  For example, in the past year we have undertaken a rigorous cost savings initiative, including structural changes, that we expect to generate significant annual savings at Pictures over the next few years.  We have also instituted an even more exacting “green light” process for film production, focusing more intensively on overall slate profitability as well as per film returns-on-investment.

3/6
________________________________________

Our Music business continues to be profitable with margins we believe are generally in line with peers.  We are nurturing and developing new talent, exploiting our vast catalog and copyrights, and exploring other growth opportunities, including leveraging our vast music content for use with increasingly popular digital music service platforms.  We continue to seek cost reductions and pursue operating efficiencies.

Finally, our executive compensation arrangements at Pictures and Music are tied to the performance of their business.  We believe this aligns incentives for the executive management teams at Pictures and Music, specifically by linking compensation to financial performance.

Pictures and Music are critical to Sony’s corporate strategy and will be essential drivers of our future growth.  Many of your observations regarding our entertainment businesses, and in particular Pictures, are not consistent with the businesses I know.  I am personally involved in the oversight of these businesses and firmly committed to assuring their growth, to improving their profitability, and to aggressively leveraging their collaboration with our electronics and service businesses.


•   Revitalize our electronics business.  While the industry environment for our electronics business remains challenging, we have made significant progress over the past year, and we are confident that we are on the right path.  We have accelerated structural reforms through our global business operations, as well as portfolio realignment, including divestiture from non-strategic businesses, and allocating capital to areas of focus.  We have also released powerful new products that appeal to consumers globally.  As you mentioned in your recent investor letter, our Xperia series smartphones have been very well received in Japan and Europe, and this momentum is expanding internationally, while our Cyber-shot RX1 won the prestigious Camera Grand Prix 2013 as the best new camera in Japan.  We are also encouraged by the positive feedback from the announcement of the PlayStation 4, which is highly integrated with our leading networks and mobile businesses.  The transformation of our television business has been progressing as planned.  We are investing in Mobile, Imaging and Game, and these business units are inextricably linked to our One Sony strategy.

•   Continue financial services’ steady contribution.  We expect the financial services business to continue to deliver highly dependable financial products and services, and maintain its high customer satisfaction ratings.  Through these efforts, the business is expected to achieve stable and growing profitability and reinforce the power of the Sony brand.

•   Achieve our growth and profitability goals.  We believe that a continued focus on steady execution will allow us to achieve the financial targets we set at the beginning of fiscal year 2012.  Specifically, for fiscal year 2014 (ending March 31, 2015), we are targeting consolidated sales and operating revenue of ¥8.5 trillion, an operating margin of more than 5% and a return on equity of 10%.  For the electronics business, for fiscal year 2014 we continue to target sales and operating revenue of ¥6.0 trillion and an operating margin of 5%.

4/6
________________________________________

The Board and management team strongly believe that continuing to own 100% of our entertainment business is fundamental to Sony’s success and that neither a subscription rights offering nor a public offering is consistent with our strategy for many reasons.  These include:

•   Demand for content is increasing its value in a dynamic industry environment, and we believe our entertainment businesses will increasingly benefit from these trends.  We are in an extraordinary industry environment, where we believe the emergence of new distribution platforms, the proliferation of powerful mobile devices, and near-ubiquitous broadband access will continue to spur increasing demand for premium content at unprecedented levels.  We believe Sony is well-positioned to drive value from our global content assets in this exciting environment and, thus, we believe our shareholders will benefit from owning all, rather than a part, of these valuable assets.

•   Full control of our entertainment businesses drives internal collaboration, facilitates synergies, and allows us to be more nimble.  Content, technology, and consumer and professional products are rapidly converging, not diverging, and we therefore expect the interplay between our entertainment and electronics businesses only to increase in size and form over the coming years and to help drive the growth of Sony’s electronics business.  We observe this trend in many of our businesses, and especially in our Mobile business, where a rapidly changing landscape demands flexibility, timely decision-making and speedy execution.  We also see this in the increasingly strong linkage between Sony Pictures and our Professional Solutions Group within our electronics business, in particular in focus areas such as 4K television, professional equipment, and digital production systems.  These are only examples.  We believe the many opportunities for collaboration in this regard are only increasing, and a rights or public offering would put obstacles in our strategic path, creating the need for otherwise unnecessary and burdensome arm’s length intercompany relationships and for consideration of minority shareholder rights, thereby limiting our control and strategic flexibility.

•   There are alternative sources of capital available, should Sony require it.  We believe Sony has adequate capital resources to fund our business plans.  Our entertainment businesses have used their cash flow to fund and invest in their businesses, and their cash flow has not been utilized to fund other businesses.  Should management determine that Sony requires additional capital, there are more efficient sources available to raise the approximately $2 billion of capital you have suggested raising through a rights or public offering.  Should we require capital, or in the event of unanticipated events, our priority would be to raise it without selling a portion of an asset fundamental to our growth strategy, and without unnecessarily burdening Sony’s ability to execute our business strategy for both entertainment and electronics.

5/6
________________________________________

•   We can achieve increased disclosure regarding Sony’s entertainment businesses without a rights or public offering.  We agree with you, other shareholders and a number of analysts that there may be advantages to providing more disclosure about our entertainment businesses, but we believe a rights or public offering is not required to provide such disclosure. We believe that providing additional disclosures will help investors better analyze the performance of these businesses. Starting in the second fiscal quarter of this year, we expect to include quarterly revenue figures for certain categories within the Pictures and Music segments, as well as certain other metrics.  We also expect to include, on a quarterly basis, necessary information to enable investors to calculate adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for each segment, including Pictures and Music.  Finally, we plan to host regular meetings with our entertainment management team to assist investors and other market participants to improve their understanding and knowledge of our entertainment businesses.

Sony’s Board and management team fully understand that the industries in which Sony operates are challenging, fast moving and competitive, and as a result we are very focused on avoiding obstacles that may hamper alignment among our businesses.  We believe Sony is already changing for the better, and we are encouraged by the opportunities that lie ahead as we aggressively pursue our One Sony strategy.  We remain committed to pursuing sustained growth in profitability and shareholder value, so that we can meet and exceed the expectations of all of our stakeholders.

We thank you for your commitment to Sony and will continue to give full consideration to any constructive feedback from our valued shareholders.  We look forward to maintaining a productive relationship with you and welcome an ongoing dialogue.
Sincerely,


/s/ Kazuo Hirai
Kazuo Hirai
President and CEO
Sony Corporation


6/6
________________________________________

SIGNATURE
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

SONY CORPORATION
(Registrant)

By: /s/ Masaru Kato
(Signature)
Masaru Kato
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer


August 6, 2013
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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Katiedot on Wed Aug 07 2013, 06:08

So basically:

Dear Mr Loeb

Sit down, shut up and get back in your box.

Yours sincerely

Sony

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Wed Aug 07 2013, 06:13

Just giving the portion of his report that pertains to the Sony situation.
BUSINESS BRIEFING
How New Mortality Calculations Could Hit Pension Plans Add To ...
MICHAEL BABAD
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 10:40 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 5:21 PM EDT

Fight Escalates

A battle between Sony Corp. and Daniel Loeb, in which George Clooney plays an extra, escalated today as the electronics and entertainment giant rebuffed the U.S. hedge fund activist’s push for a partial spinoff.

This saga has been playing out for a while, gaining broader interest last week when Mr. Clooney accused Mr. Loeb as someone who “knows nothing about our business.”

Through Third Point LLC, Mr. Loeb says he owns some 7 per cent of Sony shares, and is pushing the company to sell as much as 20 per cent of its entertainment operations via a public stock offering.

Today, Sony publicly released a letter to Third Point saying that “while we share with you the objectives of increasing profitability and driving shareholder value, after careful review, the Sony board of directors has unanimously concluded that continuing to own 100 per cent of our entertainment business is the best path forward and is integral to Sony’s strategy.”

Sony, which recently reported a quarterly profit, added in the letter that it has options should it require more capital, a response to Mr. Loeb’s suggestion that the company could raise $2-billion (U.S.) through a partial spinoff.

“Should we require capital, or in the event of unanticipated events, our priority would be to raise it without selling a portion of an asset fundamental to our growth strategy, and without unnecessarily burdening Sony’s ability to execute our business strategy for both entertainment and electronics.”

Last week, Mr. Clooney, whose Smokehouse Pictures is affiliated with Sony, slammed Mr. Loeb in an interview with the Deadline Hollywood website.

“I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing,” Mr. Clooney said. “If you look at the industry track record, this business has made a lot of money”

Mr. Loeb’s Third Point said today it would continue discussing the issues with Sony, suggesting the fight will continue.
“Third Point looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with management and intends to explore further options to create value for Sony shareholders,” it said.
• Sony rejects Loeb’s push for pin-off of entertainment unit
• Read the Sony letter

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Wed Aug 07 2013, 06:17

Sony rejects Loeb’s push for spin-off of entertainment unit  
MARI SAITO
TOKYO — Reuters
Published Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 5:39 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 7:54 AM EDT

Japan’s Sony Corp on Tuesday rejected a proposal from activist shareholder Daniel Loeb to partially spin-off its entertainment business but the billionaire investor vowed to keep talking with the company and to explore other options.

Sony said it could still squeeze synergies from its decades-old marriage of content and hardware and promised more disclosure in its entertainment operations.

Loeb’s Third Point LLC hedge fund has waged a three-month campaign to convince the company to sell as much as one-fifth of its money-making entertainment arm – movies, TV and music – to free up cash to revive the electronics business.

“Sony’s board of directors has unanimously concluded that continuing to own 100 per cent of our entertainment business is the best path forward and is integral to Sony’s strategy,” Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said in a letter to Loeb, which was released by the company.

Loeb had cast his proposal for a public offering of part of Sony’s entertainment business as consistent with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to boost economic growth through structural reform in Japan.

But a source familiar with the discussions said Sony’s decision reflected worries about listing a subsidiary, not resistance to corporate reform in Japan.

The company did not need the cash from a subsidiary IPO, which would have created possible conflicts and cumbersome requirements from such a listing, he added.

“I can’t believe this is a statement on Japanese companies not being willing to be flexible,” said the source.
Loeb, who owns around 7 per cent of Sony through shares and cash-settled swaps, said he was disappointed with the decision, even while acknowledging that Sony was showing a greater commitment to transparency.

He also made it clear the saga was not over.

“Third Point looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with management and intends to explore further options to create value for Sony shareholders,” Third Point said in a statement.

Sources familiar with the situation were sceptical, however, about the prospects for a proxy fight taken directly to shareholders, given the history of failures of such efforts in Japan.

Sony’s shares fell 4.6 per cent on Tuesday but are still more than double their value at the start of the year, boosted by Loeb’s calls for reform at the company and by the prime minister’s reflationary “Abenomics” policies.

The company’s promise of improved transparency in its entertainment business includes quarterly updates on revenue in its music and pictures segments, as well as other metrics.

Sony’s board had been expected to reject Loeb’s proposals, the Nikkei newspaper said last week, with directors arguing Sony could compete better by maintaining ties with the entertainment arm of the business.

Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato subsequently assured a quarterly earnings briefing last Thursday, however, that Sony was still discussing Loeb’s proposal and would make a decision after thorough consideration.

Sony said the board had since met again and rejected the proposal in a unanimous vote, arguing that its decades-old vision of wringing synergies from integrating its content and electronics divisions was intact and gaining importance. Many analysts and investors over the years have questioned the potential of that strategy.

The company has long been a pillar of Japan Inc and a pioneer in the electronics industry. But it has lost market share – and its innovative edge – to aggressive foreign rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc as they churn out blockbuster products.

Loeb is credited with forcing change at Yahoo Inc, where he waged an aggressive campaign to upend its previous management in 2011 and 2012, accusing then-CEO Scott Thompson of padding his resume with a non-existent computer science degree. Thompson was out within weeks.

Actor-producer George Clooney criticised Loeb in an interview published on Friday by film trade publication Deadline Hollywood, calling him a “hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business”.

Clooney accused Loeb of being “a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles,” referring to high-profile, big budget films.
Third Point has said it had no comment on Clooney’s remarks.

Clooney co-founded production company Smokehouse Pictures, and signed a production agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2009.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Wed Aug 07 2013, 10:43

“Sony’s board of directors has unanimously concluded that continuing to own 100 per cent of our entertainment business is the best path forward and is integral to Sony’s strategy,”

To me, as a former business controller, this says stronger part (electronics) of the company can support the weaker(entertainment) if and when needed. Spinn of would make it more difficult and transparent and even expensive.

"Sony’s shares fell 4.6 per cent on Tuesday but are still more than double their value at the start of the year, boosted by Loeb’s calls for reform at the company and by the prime minister’s reflationary “Abenomics” policies."

It´s just a prelude. It was down 6% when I looked at it. Big name went in and out of it yesterday. Manipulated stock.




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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by mosaic on Wed Aug 07 2013, 12:30

carla97 wrote: Sony’s shares fell 4.6 per cent on Tuesday but are still more than double their value at the start of the year, boosted by Loeb’s calls for reform at the company and by the prime minister’s reflationary “Abenomics” policies."

It´s just a prelude. It was down 6% when I looked at it. Big name went in and out of it yesterday. Manipulated stock.

That's my feeling, too, Carla. Was Loeb trying to manipulate the market to make Sony's shares plummit....so he could profit? He could profit by buying up more shares of Sony at the reduced rate....or....if he had a family member or close associate short selling, he could make a profit that way, too, if they split the difference....I don't know for sure that he has done that, but the guy is a creep who profits off of others' misery (Greece). Arrogant. Unethical.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by mosaic on Wed Aug 07 2013, 13:09

Let me get this straight--they create jobs by telling investors not to invest in a company that might create 100 jobs because....Company A looks better than Company B because Company A is willing to go without a union shop and pay people minimum wage....am I correct...?

Sometimes I wish my hunches weren't right. Loeb hates unions, especially the teacher's unions and is heavily invested in the destruction of the U.S. public school system.

Story here:

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(courtesy of Diane Ravitch)

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by it's me on Wed Aug 07 2013, 13:31

What a damn...... Exploded 

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Lighterside on Wed Aug 07 2013, 13:46

Katiedot wrote:So basically:

Dear Mr Loeb

Sit down, shut up and get back in your box.

Yours sincerely

Sony

Absolutely Katie, and that's what generated the "exclusive interview" above no doubt, with him walking back his public spat with George as well. And what was left out was "you have 7% dude, not 70%, so don't let it go to your head"...

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Wed Aug 07 2013, 13:48

You are right Mosaic. Clooney is right he is dangerous in many ways.

I didn´t get the memo. So this is all speculation.

Maybe he brought the stock up to 20-22 range and sold all. Maybe he is shorting the hell out the stock now. To get it back cheaper, hello 10 $ and to shoot it back up again...season supports him in this, august is a lousy month with anemic volume.

Not so long ago he sold (yhoo) 41,400,000 shares of company stock for $ 1,205,420,032. So he can make those kind of moves without hesitation.

But on the other hand he might face some resistance, there are other owners too.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Aug 07 2013, 22:34

Variety reports that Mr Loeb has acknowledged Our Hero's comments in a conciliatory statement today, but without actually climbing down.

Oh, and Mr Loeb and his investor friends also have some shares in Variety...........

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Aug 07 2013, 22:56

The Wall Street Journal also has an online chat between two financial journalists/commentators about how Loeb is unlikely to pick a fight with Our Hero, and another blog from Forbes points to Lionsgate being very successfully run by a hedge fund manager. Their films? Twilight saga stuff, Hunger Games........

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by it's me on Wed Aug 07 2013, 23:38

Not the same Loeb as chief
I guess

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Juliette Hardy on Thu Aug 08 2013, 11:09

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NY Post running story from Variety (posted above) as apology from Loeb.

Dan Loeb is eating crow.

The hedge-fund billionaire, who has been pressing Sony to spin off its entertainment unit, apologized for attacking the company’s recent box-office bombs and even tried to make nice with George Clooney, who last week called Loeb a “carpetbagger.”

In an interview with Variety, Loeb appeared to back off his demands for a spin-off after underestimating both Japanese and Hollywood culture. He also said he and Clooney have a “common goal” for “intelligent investment in creative content.”

Just days before Sony rejected Loeb’s spin-off proposal, Clooney dismissed Loeb as someone “who knows nothing about our business, and is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed.”

That was a reference to a recent letter Loeb sent to his investors attacking Sony flops “White House Down” and “After Earth.”

Loeb also backed away from those comments, saying, “We’re not really focused on individual movies or their slate.”

“I’m confident Dan’s olive-branch response to Clooney was more about avoiding being blackballed from Hollywood parties than anything more substantive,” said Robert Chapman of Chapman Capital, who said he shorted Sony in June because he suspected the company would reject Loeb’s proposal.

Hedge-fund insiders said they now expect Loeb to make a “graceful exit” out of Sony over the next year, selling down his 4 percent stake.

Sony shares lost another 3 percent yesterday, closing at $20.13


Reading 

Hedge funds & arbitrages can be ruthlessly aggressive (especially with mergers & acquisitions) in general.
It's relieving to know that Clooney stands his ground and supports the film industry.
Remember how he tried to mediate between the WGA & Hollywood power-players during the Writers' Strike in 2008?

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by it's me on Thu Aug 08 2013, 12:35

Yes
He is always there to help, if he can

Smile

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Thu Aug 08 2013, 12:57

"Hedge-fund insiders said they now expect Loeb to make a “graceful exit” out of Sony over the next year, selling down his 4 percent stake."

Who writes this stuff? Hedge-fund insider thinks that someone is holding his shares for a year and not believeing in company´s strategy? Yeah right. He executed the order already Smile

I guess we have new definition for "graceful exit". He bought below 10 and sold (yes sold) above 20. Amazingly graceful! So he has some cash now and can buy this company x and make it his own pixar. I bet this is what he´ll do next.


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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Butterfly on Sun Aug 11 2013, 14:39

My position on the verbal war Clooney-Loeb is as follows:

I fully support Mr. Clooney because he is more handsome than Mr. Loeb.Embarassed Hug1

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Sun Aug 11 2013, 15:29

Absolutely agree with you. I gave you the green thing! Smile

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Butterfly on Tue Aug 13 2013, 19:02

Carla97 wrote:Absolutely agree with you. I gave you the green thing! Smile
Thanx, Clara97:D, I also gave you the green thing. Actually, I wanted to click "thanks" button which gives 3 points (as explained in the FAQ's) but I do not know where it is....can you help?Question 

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Nicky80 on Tue Aug 13 2013, 19:51

And i can not always give the green thing. Sometimes yes and than it is not available for me. Does somebody know why?

Sorry for being off topic    hidingbehindsofa

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Tue Aug 13 2013, 21:12

Butterfly wrote:
Carla97 wrote:Absolutely agree with you. I gave you the green thing! Smile
Thanx, Clara97:D, I also gave you the green thing. Actually, I wanted to click "thanks" button which gives 3 points (as explained in the FAQ's) but I do not know where it is....can you help?Question 
I have no idea where "thanks" button is, never seen one. And 3 point to get what? What´s in it for me- tune playing in my head? Smile

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Butterfly on Wed Aug 14 2013, 11:47

Carla97 wrote:
Butterfly wrote:
Carla97 wrote:Absolutely agree with you. I gave you the green thing! Smile
Thanx, Clara97:D, I also gave you the green thing. Actually, I wanted to click "thanks" button which gives 3 points (as explained in the FAQ's) but I do not know where it is....can you help?Question 
I have no idea where "thanks" button is, never seen one. And 3 point to get what? What´s in it for me- tune playing in my head? Smile
I'm copying the text from the FAQ's here:

"Your Clooney-liciousness points are is based on the number of positive votes your posts are given by other posters. It works like this: If someone likes your post, they can click on the green 'thumbs up' symbol next to your post and this will give you one point. If someone's posted a great post, you can click on the 'thanks' button in their post and this gives 3 points!"

However, I do not see the button "thanks" anywhere!

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Katiedot on Wed Aug 14 2013, 11:50

Sorry for the confusion, the 'thanks' button disappeared a long time ago.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Butterfly on Wed Aug 14 2013, 11:52

Nicky80 wrote:And i can not always give the green thing. Sometimes yes and than it is not available for me. Does somebody know why?

Sorry for being off topic    hidingbehindsofa
I also do not know. Pls see my copied text from the FAQ's above.

By the way, I like your cute smiley hiding behind sofa.hidingbehindsofa Very Happy 

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Butterfly on Wed Aug 14 2013, 11:54

Katiedot wrote:Sorry for the confusion, the 'thanks' button disappeared a long time ago.
Thanks Katiedot.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by silly girl on Fri Sep 13 2013, 03:17

Update:


Daniel Loeb In Retreat: Backs Off Sony For Now With Praise For CEO Kazuo Hirai And George Clooney; But Can He Be Trusted?

Apparently, The Most Hated Man In Hollywood just wasn’t comfortable being labeled “The Most Dangerous Man To Our Industry” by George Clooney for all the world to read (via Mike Fleming’s exclusive Deadline interview and carried by Yahoo this past weekend). So now Third Point hedge fund CEO Daniel Loeb claims today he’s backing off Sony. But only after the putz created chaos and confusion inside a stable and successful studio, destabilized Michael Lynton’s and Amy Pascal’s and Jeff Blake’s management because two summer films After Earth and White House Down bombed at the domestic box office in what is a cyclical business, and imperiled many current jobs and future projects there. It’s disgusting. Not only does he seek to profit from the misfortunes of countries (Greece) and corporations (Sony after Howard Stringer crashed and burned the once great electronics giant), but in this case bullies a major entertainment company to the brink. Now Loeb will simply retreat to his East Coast dream homes and not give Hollywood another thought until the next time he feels the urge to kvetch. Kudos to Clooney for having the balls to hold up Loeb to public scorn. And congrats to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai for not panicking or pressuring top executives to leave just to appease Loeb. Nice work, too, by producer Lynda Obst who gave a very forceful and cogent defense of SPE on CNBC yesterday. As for Ashton Kutcher and his worthless opinion, let’s see how his career careens when his Jobs indie flops and CBS/Warner Bros no longer pays him to make Two And A Half Men even more unwatchable.


Loeb today did an about-face and claimed to Variety he was backing off Lynton, Pascal, et al: “We support Hirai, and to the extent that he supports his management team and they can meet the board’s initiatives around transparency and profit margin improvement, I see no reason [the current executives] cannot do that. It is a decision for Mr. Hirai to make.” This is after Hirai sent a letter to Third Point (which owns 7% of Sony) and rejected Loeb’s unsolicited proposal to spinoff Sony’s entertainment unit. Suddenly Loeb was calling Hirai’s letter “thoughtfully written and detailed in its discussion of profitability and transparency. There was a lot there for shareholders to hang their hats on.” Loeb also admitted “it is probably unfair to focus on one or two bad movies, just in the way that Third Point from time to time can have one or two bad months or a bad year. … We’re really not focused on individual movies or their slate. I know I mentioned that in the last letter, but at this point it is more productive to support management and the goals advanced by Mr. Hirai in his letter.”

Loeb clearly never counted on being outed by Clooney for “knowing nothing about our business” and dissed so publicly and forcefully and publicly by the filmmaker. Loeb replied: “Notwithstanding the fact that the media likes to create a stir, I admire Mr. Clooney’s passion for Sony and his loyalty to Sony and his friends there.” But Loeb nervily suggested he and Clooney share a “common goal: a more disciplined company with better allocation of capital means less money spent on bureaucracy and more investment in motion pictures. We are all for intelligent investment in creative content. I believe our interests are aligned in a way he probably doesn’t realize.”

What’s next? Well, Loeb as with Sony was initially rebuffed by Yahoo management but didn’t stop destabilizing that Internet company until the CEO was replaced and operations overhauled. Loeb explains the difference: “Only three months into our investment, Yahoo had completely rebuffed us. The chairman hung up on me in a phone conversation…This is a sharp contrast. The only thing they rebuffed was the spinoff proposal. They took our suggestions seriously and acted on them.” Regarding Sony, “We will monitor their performance in coming quarters and revisit Sony’s progress around the time of next year’s annual meeting. [We will] continue to be highly engaged, maintain a dialogue with management, and expect to offer further suggestions to increase shareholder value. What we would expect is more disclosure and a more detailed plan for how they will improve profitability in their entertainment division, including specific profitability targets.”

I hope Hollywood expresses its disdain for Loeb’s despicable tactics by not reading or advertising in Variety, the in-house newsletter he owns with my boss Jay Penske. Loeb should learn his actions have consequences – even if his Variety investment is flea-sized for a billionaire who made $500M off a single Greek bond bet.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Mazy on Fri Sep 13 2013, 04:16

Thanks SG that's a terrific article. Now is he saying that Variety Mag is Loeb's. I will post that for awhile on twitter. So glad for this;
As for Ashton Kutcher and his worthless opinion he was shown up for what he's worth.

Had no doubts about George's point of view, he's no fool. He is an extremely intelligent person, and was proved be so.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Carla97 on Fri Sep 13 2013, 07:12

Nothing much to add here, except what it doesn´t say. So I´ll say it. He nearly sold out all his energy stocks before Syria news. Got interested in other e-company, called Walt Disney (DIS) at some point over the summer. Bought about 2M shares. Sony (SNE) I can´t tell. It is a foreign holding for him. He is not required to report if he bought or sold.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Sep 13 2013, 11:14

very well said, Nikki Finke, editor-in-chief! Would like to buy you a drink - Casamigos tequila of course.

And Mr Clooney, give her an exclusive for Deadline please

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Nicky80 on Fri Sep 13 2013, 23:53

Thanks SG. That was a great artical. Wink 

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Nov 12 2013, 18:14

Found on Frenchies - thank you!

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Question: having read this article, do you think Our Hero might or might not want to meet this gentleman? See last paragraph..........

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Nicky80 on Wed Nov 13 2013, 00:01

Thanks PAN - I don't think George would wast his time to meet this guy. Interesting thing about this Cuban Kid. The press finds all the dirt. So how does the saying go...Don't throw with stones in a glas house.....Very Happy

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Nov 13 2013, 00:29

Just an observation, but I get the impression that this guy's outlook on life and raison d'etre seems to be the complete opposite of Our Hero's........

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Einstein on Wed Nov 13 2013, 00:52

sorry, but where can one put(place) here in the forum a new heading? e.g., George Clooney blasphemes colleague?
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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Einstein on Wed Nov 13 2013, 00:53

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by melbert on Wed Nov 13 2013, 03:05

It's already got it's own thread Einstein.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Way2Old4Dis on Thu Jul 24 2014, 18:54

This is long, but interesting. The Clooney involvement noted towards the end.

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Behind-The-Scenes With Sony Pictures’ Problems: Part One

Posted by Nikki FinkeWed Jul 23, 2014 | 8:08pm PDTExclusive!, Film, Industry 65


On June 19th, I emailed Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice Chairman Jeff Blake and asked if he was leaving the studio. "Up in the air. Will know soon. Promise to tell you," he replied. To which I responded, "OK. Please tell me first." His Sony bosses Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal were trying to force Blake into retiring rather than demonstrate to Hollywood that they were firing the beloved 22-year studio veteran as the sacrificial lamb for all of Sony Pictures’ many problems. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]During the last 3 years, the studio’s summer event pictures had not lived up to expectations beginning with 2012′s reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. What no one knew is that Lynton and Pascal had nearly fired Blake exactly a year ago as the fall guy for Summer 2013′s box office disappointments like After Earth, White House Down, Smurfs 2, and Elysium. Just like she’d done during last summer referring to Blake’s health, Pascal a few weeks before Blake’s forced departure on Tuesday was again mentioning to media that, after 22 years in his very exacting big job, it was time "for Jeff to take care of himself". What she really meant to say, but didn’t, was "for Jeff to take the heat off Michael and myself".
But, at only age 61, Blake felt he wasn’t finished overseeing worldwide movie marketing and distribution at the job and the studio that he loved. "They wanted me to say I am going to retire, and I wouldn’t," Blake told a pal. "If I really thought I was losing something, I’d kind of know it in my heart of hearts." Lynton and Pascal finally were able to buy him off. "It was done very nicely. Jeff has less than a year left on his contract so Amy and Michael gave him a lot more money than that. And with no contractual responsibilities after August 1st because Jeff wanted to find a new job immediately," an insider told me. And he will, no doubt.
The announcement of Blake’s departure was made on Tuesday. He kept his word and tried to tell me first but Lynton had already made a deal with Deadline. (Blake did call me early that morning, only I was fast asleep after a late night of reporting.) Later that day Blake turned in his Sony Blackberry and set up a personal gmail account. He was out. It followed a dismal Sony Summer 2014 box office when the reboot sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 disappointed (more on that in upcoming Part Two), several other films fell short, and last weekend when Sex Tape bombed. The timing made it look as if that was his fault, too. "What I’m telling my people on the way out is, ‘Tell the truth’. You just can’t give everybody what they want to hear. And to test films outside of Los Angeles. They loved Sex Tape in LA but not in Kansas City," Blake told me when we finally spoke. "We’re the only ones touching the consumer, so I encouraged people to find out what the real world thinks. You don’t have to be out on a ledge to relay what the rest of the world is saying. But the truth is the only way out of here."
As for his replacement/s, Blake openly wondered if Doug Belgrad’s recent promotion from Columbia Pictures president to Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group presidency means he’ll be taking on larger responsibility. (I’ve learned that in a few weeks Belgrad is leading a presentation to the Japanese brass including CEO Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai. "It looks to me like they’re grooming him. He’s good financially and creatively, which is unusual," a source just told me.) Blake conjectured: "Or somebody on the outside. I hope not. I hope it’s some combination of internal people. They’ve got Rory Bruer [distribution] and Dwight Caines [marketing]. You always have to hope and be optimistic. It is difficult when targets keep getting higher. It worked for a long time. When it gets tough, sometimes the luck runs out."
Blake and I had an unusually close professional relationship after [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]years and years of emailing one another on most days and every weekend to talk box office. "I always was trying to do my best and not be a fucking liar. You were tough, and you still are tough. I don’t even try to snow you. I gave you at least as much truth as I could tell you and not get myself killed," he explained to me. Only on a few occasions did I ever hear him complain abut his job. Once, about being sleep-deprived from staying up late every weekend night and early every weekend morning to follow the grosses. Another time, when tracking started to become meaningless. And a third time when Lynton and Pascal came after him during Sony’s lousy Summer 2013.
"Last summer was no damn good," Blake recalled.
Looking back at when the Sony saga started, I date it to last summer and an unusual confluence of bad choices, bad timing and bad marketing. First, unfortunately, came After Earth on May 31st. Even the studio’s own tracking indicated that the Will Smith/Jaden Smith space actioner was going to fail. Execs thought its domestic cume would likely end up in the mid to high $90sM. It made only to $60M. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]International was stronger but nothing like Will’s other big budget pics which have averaged $600M in global grosses. After Earth‘s problem was that its net cost was $149M ($170M budget, less $21M in production benefits) and Will received not just his full salary but also 20% first dollar gross participation. Some complained about the marketing. ("They paid Smith full freight. Yet why they didn’t put his name in big letters at the top of the billboards or have him smiling in the trailers is mystifying," one source told me at the time.) But people were clearly turned off by After Earth not only as a Jaden Smith pic, but as an expensive vanity project Will Smith pushed through for his son that simply didn’t look like any fun. Since this wasn’t a Will Smith picture, what was there left to market? Certainly not the pic’s director M Night Shyamalan, whom Smith had handpicked. Not only was the pic a conceptual failure, it lost a lot of money. Blake’s marketing prowess couldn’t overcome this meltdown, which Pascal belatedly admitted she had put into production simply because Will had made billions for the studio and she felt she just couldn’t say no to its most successful film partner.
At the time, Third Point hedge fund master of the universe Dan Loeb was destabilizing the Sony studio with his complaints as a major investor in the parent company. First, the After Earth failure played into his hands, and then the White House Down disaster on July 28th. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]That pic’s marketing was uninspired, first with action-oriented trailers and then ones making it look like a buddy action comedy. Toughest of all, though, was that it followed the very similar Olympus Has Fallen. Also, Channing Tatum’s most proven audience is female and this was an actioner. Its net negative cost plus P&A came to $280M, and I’m told it lost as much as $90M.
The very next day after White House Down‘s Friday’s release, Loeb got nasty in a letter to his investors. “We were surprised that after Entertainment’s highly touted big budget summer releases — After Earth and White House Down — bombed spectacularly at the box office, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, speaking at the Allen & Co Sun Valley conferences a few weeks ago, brushed off these failures saying: ‘I don’t worry about the Entertainment business, it’s doing just fine’”. Calling the films “2013′s versions of Waterworld and Ishtar,” Loeb wrote it was “perplexing” that Hirai gave “free passes” to Lynton and Pascal whom he called “the executives responsible for these debacles.”
I learned that immediately after that Loeb letter, Sony Pictures actually phoned Universal to find out what Waterworld‘s red ink had been (only to be told that Waterworld broke even) and checked internally to see how much Ishtar had lost, and provided the info to their board. The studio considered hitting back publicly at Loeb and had a report written denouncing his claims. "A little reactive and sensitive?" a source told me at the time. "That’s Amy. This has been very tough, and she is a nervous personality. Wonderfully creative but very excitable. Michael was always very calm. But he started to get downright angry when Loeb started complaining."
I learned that, in reaction to Loeb, Sony Pictures had a major meeting the week before July 4th. Lynton, Pascal, Belgrad, the CFO, and three other execs attended. Blake was not there. Sources told me at the time Lynton led the meeting where a revised greenlight strategy was outlined and agreed upon.
The greenlight criteria was to become more stringent: that the numbers would drive everything, but also that there had to be a passionate belief in the project’s success from multiple execs, and that they must know the audience they’re targeting before they commit. Plus the studio now intended to view the North American market as a territory and make pictures aimed at the international audiences. That made sense: overseas theatrical box office was growing at a sustained rate and then accounted for 69% of global box office. Multiplexes were being built worldwide. New middle classes were emerging throughout the world and showing interest in movies. New markets in Asia, Russia, the Middle East, and Latin America were all growing. The MPAA reported that box office in China had grown 36% alone.
The Sony Pictures executives further pledged that third party participation would be reduced, first dollar gross deals would be the exception, and more cash break even deals would be the norm for talent. They also agreed that there was no more reason to spend the type of money they’d previously spent on pics such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, etc. So budgets on franchises would no longer be gigantic and P&A expenditures should be approximately 10% less going forward.
Also discussed was that the studio needed to build more franchises and have more sequels and develop more brands, and these should be the key to the slate going forward. I’m told that the feeling after the meeting was, in the words of one source, "positive. I think it was smart and productive for them. I liked their plan going forward."
I soon learned why Blake was not invited. Because more then one top exec inside Sony was telling people they thought it was likely that Jeff Blake would be let go. That’s when I first realized the studio was nearly ready to unfairly fire Blake. Despite the fact that he had an unparalled reputation and record of excellence in Hollywood where his peers considered him a ‘god-like’ and ‘very cool" exec completely in control of his domain and staff.
But Pascal was battling for her own job that June – literally hanging by her fingernails – as Loeb kept bitch-slapping the studio’s leadership. Even Lynton was contemplating forcing out Pascal to save his own skin. "Michael was the co-chairman when all the pictures were greenlit, so he can’t completely back away from the slate," a source explained to me at the time. Lynton and Pascal have "always had a culture clash. Michael is empirically driven, Amy creatively. He has always wanted her to understand the numbers and she has always felt that creative decisions should overrule financial decisions. The disharmony is not personal: it is business and based on the results. To her credit, Amy has learned more about the numbers recently. It wouldn’t surprise me if Amy got fired if the rest of the summer doesn’t perform. But if the next three pics work this summer, then I think she gets more time."
Pascal was asking people that July if they’d been told she was being replaced. She’d heard 3 names: Matt Tolmach, Jeff Robinov, Neil Moritz.
When I told Pascal that I planned to write about Sony Pictures right around this time, she completely freaked out. The summer before she’d screamed at me for posting that 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man reboot had disappointed at the box office – even though it had. In May 2013, she kept insisting to me that After Earth would do fine – until the day it was released and clearly a domestic disaster. Only then did she start talking candidly.
That mid-July, I point-blank asked Pascal whether Blake would be fired, and she told me she didn’t know. Immediately, she sought to use Blake’s health as the reason he should go, telling me it was time "for Jeff to take care of himself". (She repeated those exact same words to me earlier this month.)
I told her how I felt and what I would do: that if she dared to touch a hair on Blake’s head, I would post what I really thought. That she should be fired, and moreover that the studio was blaming marketing when she should be falling on her own sword instead for making bad movies. I said it would be a miracle if Blake was able to get any filmgoers to buy tickets for the dreck produced by Sony that summer. And I told her that I knew about the meeting where Sony Pictures decided to change its film focus because of Loeb’s outside pressure.
Pascal lied to me and claimed that meeting never took place to get me not to write the Sony story. (But the meeting did take place – and was confirmed in a letter to Loeb a month later by Sony Corp chief Kazuo Hirai.)
I loathe those calls I sometimes have to make telling Hollywood bigwigs they’re in danger of getting axed. To my surprise, Blake verbally shrugged it off except to say "Water rising here". But he also asked for a favor, something he’d never done in all the years I’d known him: to "take a beat" before writing about the studio and him at least until after Elysium opened on August 9th. Rightly or wrongly, I agreed.
Pascal at the same time turned to Blake (of all people, but because she knew we were close) to convince me to include in my Sony piece that, even though some pics were failing at the box office, the summer would end profitably. I told Blake how I didn’t think that was true and wasn’t going to write it.
Then Smurfs 2 opened on July 31st and bombed domestically. Even Disney’s toon Planes had been out-tracking the Sony sequel, causing the Sony brass to sweat. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]The pic shocked by opening to merely half the U.S./Canadian grosses of the first. ("But even the $30M we expected would be disappointing, and the outside perception would be very bad," a source wrote to me at the time.) The studio blamed too many PG films at the multiplex but the real story is that critics panned it because it stunk. Even the foreign cume was blah at first. The negative cost for Smurfs 2 was $125M ($146M less production benefits of $21M). The disappointment was sure to put more pressure on the studio from cantankerous investor Loeb. Plus, it was Lynton’s baby: he’d taken the first Smurfs out of turnaround from Paramount only to have it catch lightning in a bottle and gross $563M worldwide. Smurfs 3 was already scheduled. My sources said the sequel had to make greater than $300M worldwide to show a small profit. It did, thanks to overseas, but grossed nothing like the original.
As a source told me at the time, "when you have a Will Smith pic, a Roland Emmerich pic, and two sequels in your summer, you should make big money." And Sony wasn’t. On the other hand, it’s a cyclical business, as everyone except Loeb seemed to know.
In those first days of August, a source emailed me to say, "I think Sony is going to fire Jeff. I also think Michael could fire Amy. I don’t know either for a fact." The question was whether Lynton, who was on his way to Tokyo, had read the tea leaves correctly about what big Sony wanted in terms of keeping management stability vs making changes. As for Lynton keeping his job, the source told me, "I think Michael has strong support within the board."
Then Sony Pictures decided to fight back against Loeb by deciding the best defense against him was offense. Lynton and Pascal got behind George Clooney, who had Monuments Men with the studio later in the year (and which didn’t break even), to go public telling Loeb to eff off. Parent Sony also rebuffed Loeb’s proposal urging it to spin off a minority stake in its movie, TV and music entertainment assets. Loeb pals told me privately he was uncomfortable attracting so much bad press and decided to publicly stop bitching about Sony for a while. (I wrote, "Apparently, The Most Hated Man In Hollywood just wasn’t comfortable being labeled “The Most Dangerous Man To Our Industry” by George Clooney for all the world to read." And I congratulated Hirai for not panicking or pressuring top executives to leave just to appease Loeb.)
For now Blake was safe even though August releases Elysium and then Mortal Instruments both disappointed at the box office. This Is The End made money. ("It’s a nice piece of business but didn’t play overseas.") Yet someone’s head still had to roll after the summer flops if marketing was going to be blamed. Instead of Blake, Marc Weinstock who was president of worldwide theatrical marketing at Sony Pictures was shockingly ousted that September without any warning. "That one I never understood," an insider told me. "But Michael and Amy wanted it done. They claimed some of the team didn’t like him." Blake had to fire him. "I hated to do it. I thought he was a talented young guy." By the end of 2013, Weinstock had landed at 20th Century Fox as president of domestic film marketing.
I never wrote that Sony piece because I became consumed by employment problems with my then boss. All I can say, in summary, is that what people in Hollywood will do to save their own skins never surprises me anymore.
(Part Two coming soon.)
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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Nicky80 on Thu Jul 24 2014, 20:56

Interesting article thanks for sharing. Can't wait for part 2....

I thought First that in general the movie industry didn't do well but I guess it is really a Sony problem? Do you think it is really a marketing problem of them?????

Some movies he mentioned didn't even sound interesting like the one with will Smith and his son....

Sony is very often badly mentioned. Sony music too. Lot of musician complaint in the past especially black musicians......

Wonder what Sony does different then compare to others.....

Question....What does it mean: 


George Clooney, who had Monuments Men with the studio later in the year (and which didn’t break even), 

"didn't break even" does it mean it was a flop for Sony too? Wonder if George feels the pressure...

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

Post by Way2Old4Dis on Thu Jul 24 2014, 22:08

I'm pretty sure MM did break even. I'm nearly as certain that it made a small profit. It certainly was not a flop. I'd have to look at the box overall office numbers again, but with a budget of $80M, they would need only to get to $160M to break even, and they did $170-175M, I think. So they didn't go gangbusters, but nobody lost money.

Nikke Finke has very, very good sources and breaks good stories, and she prides herself on naming names and not pulling punches. But if she does not like a person or a company, she tends to cherry pick facts to support her position. She (obviously) does not like Sony. And she has never been a big fan of George Clooney. So factor that into the statement. I suppose that somewhere in an alternate accounting universe that has its own financial performance parameters, MM could be said to fail on a money scale.

But not in this one. Monuments Men was a successful movie, by all the right standards.

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Re: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony

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