Third Point sells Sony ADRs; still owns large amount of Tokyo stock

BOSTON/TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. hedge fund Third Point LLC, which had been pressing Sony Corp (6758.T) to make changes including spinning-off of its chip unit, has sold all of its American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) in the Japanese conglomerate, regulatory filings showed.

The fund, headed by one of the world’s highest-profile activist investors, Daniel Loeb, still owns a large amount of Sony’s Japanese stock, a person familiar with the fund said.

The sale comes just over a year since sources told Reuters that Third Point was raising an investment vehicle targeting $500 million to $1 billion in capital to buy Sony shares.

It owned 1.5 million Sony ADRs at December-end worth about $100 million, showed Third Point filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The number was 675,000 at the end of March and, as at the end of June, latest filings no longer listed Sony.

SEC filings show what investors hold in U.S. stock. They give no indication of foreign holdings, such as how much Third Point owns in Sony’s common stock listed in Japan.

Sony said it does not comment on individual shareholders. Third Point declined to comment.

Sony’s Tokyo-listed shares were down 2.3% in afternoon trade in a flat broader market, due primarily to concerns that ramped-up U.S. restrictions on customer Huawei Technologies Co Ltd could drag on its chip business.

TARGET

New York-based Third Point said it was building a stake in Sony last year when it called on the firm to spin off its chip business and sell non-core assets such as Sony Financial Holdings Inc (8729.T) to emerge as a global entertainment firm.

The effort marked the second time in six years that Loeb targeted the Japanese conglomerate.

Sony rejected the call to spin off the chip unit, saying the business was “a crucial growth driver”, and instead of selling Sony Financial, it has moved to take full control.

Still, Sony has been a winner for Third Point. Its share price has surged about 80% since April last year when Reuters first reported that the fund was building a stake.

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