5. Loeb Lays Down
Originally published Aug. 9.
Dan Loeb must have lost his superpowers because Batman beat his ass down.The Third Point hedge fund manager, famous for his spiteful, yet highly profitable takedowns of Yahoo! (YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson and Herbalife (HLF) antagonist Bill Ackman, toned down his attack on Sony (SNE) management this week, even after CEO Kazuo Hirai summarily dismissed his proposal to spin off up to 20% of the company's entertainment assets. Shares of Sony fell 9% this week following Hirai's rejection of Loeb's plan. Loeb lit into Sony's CEO last week after Hirai sloughed off Sony's big budget bombs After Earth and White House Down. Loeb, who reportedly owns 7% of the company, referred to the films as "2013's versions of Waterworld and Ishtar" and called it "perplexing" that Hirai gave "free passes" to the Sony executives responsible for the box office flops. This week, however, the usually acid-tongued Loeb offered a bit of honey instead, saying in a Variety interview, "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." What the heck, Dan? Why did you go soft on Sony all of a sudden? You went from flamethrower to flaccid. That's not like you at all. Be honest. Did George Clooney's defense of the company get to you? When George said last week that you know "nothing about our business," did it faze you? Because from our perspective it looked the Batman & Robin star put kryptonite in one of your 10Qs. "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, replying to George's jabs. "We are all for intelligent investment in creative content. I believe our interests are aligned in a way he probably doesn't realize." Clooney, for the record, is directing and starring in the World War II-era thriller The Monuments Men, which Sony is co-financing with Fox. What a load of crap Dan. Wall Street masters of the universe should not be backing down from Hollywood pretty boys, so man up and go kick Clooney's ass! If you ask us, he deserves it for dumping Stacy Keibler anyway.
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