Dubai Fund Snags Sony Stake
Sony Corp.'s share price, which has been struggling of late despite turnaround efforts, got a bit of a lift after an investment company owned by Dubai's ruler bought a stake in Japanese electronics and entertainment company.
In the latest sign of the increasing appetite for overseas investments by Middle Eastern investors, Dubai International Capital, which is controlled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, said it made a 'substantial' investment in Sony.
Spokesmen for DIC, of the United Arab Emirates, and Sony declined to disclose the size of the holding, though it is likely to be less than 5%. Any higher, and DIC would be required to make a public disclosure under Japanese securities law. The investment company hasn't made such a disclosure.
Sony, which owns consumer-electronics, videogame and movie businesses, is in the last year of a three-year turnaround plan under Chief Executive Howard Stringer. While those efforts generally have been succeeding, the company's shares are down about 8% from April 1, the beginning of its fiscal year, because of worries about a weak videogame business, a potential slowdown in the U.S. economy and the strengthening yen, which decreases the value of sales outside Japan when converted into yen.
Word of the DIC stake, however, pushed Sony's stock price higher in Tokyo, closing up 4.6% to 5,500 yen ($50.78). In 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Sony's American depositary shares were up 93 cents, or 1.9%, to $50.01. The company has a market value of nearly $50 billion.
Sovereign funds in the Middle East have been playing a larger role in global businesses as oil-rich investors have seen their fortunes swell because of rising energy prices and a regional economic boom. Many companies have welcomed investments from such funds because they tend to be stable investors.
DIC said it chose to invest in Sony because of its 'ongoing strategy of focusing on capital efficiency and cash generation.' Many industry analysts also consider Sony shares worth buying because of its strong financial results.
'The combination of Sony's truly global brand, its leadership in product design and its global footprint will spur the business' medium-term growth as it capitalizes on positive underlying trends and emerging technologies,' DIC said in a statement.
Mr. Stringer said he welcomed the investment. 'We are happy that DIC has recognized the strength of the Sony brand as well as our unique competitive advantage in having both entertainment and electronics assets to drive our businesses forward,' he said in a statement.
DIC is an investment arm of Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by Sheikh Mohammed. It has made a series of big investments recently, spending more than $1 billion for a 9.9% stake in Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, a U.S. hedge-fund manager. It also has acquired stakes in European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., Daimler AG and HSBC Holdings PLC.
Formed in 2004, DIC focused early on leveraged buyouts, targeting North American and European firms. It snapped up Tussauds Group in 2005 for GBP 800 million (GBP 1.65 billion, or $3.4 billion, at today's exchange rates). More recently, it has gone after equity stakes in big, established companies. So far, it hasn't shown an intention to push publicly for big changes at these established companies.
Sony's largest shareholder is mutual-fund company Dodge & Cox, which is based in San Francisco. According to Sony's last annual filing with U.S. regulators, made in June, Dodge & Cox owned 8.3% of the Japanese company as of March 31.
阿联酋迪拜酋长穆罕默德•本•拉希德•阿勒马克图姆(Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum)名下的Dubai International Capital(DIC)周一宣布对索尼进行了“大规模”投资，显示中东地区投资者涉足海外的意愿正不断增强。
DIC是穆罕默德名下联合企业Dubai Holding下属的一家投资公司。近来这家公司已进行了一系列重大投资，斥资10亿美元收购美国对冲基金管理公司Och-Ziff Capital Management Group 9.9%的股权即是其中之一。此外，DIC还参股了欧洲航空防务航天公司(European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.)、戴姆勒公司(Daimler AG)以及汇丰控股(HSBC Holdings PLC.)。
目前索尼最大的股东是总部设于旧金山的共同基金公司Dodge & Cox。索尼6月份递交美国证券监管部门的上一份年报显示，截至今年3月31日，Dodge & Cox在索尼的持股比例为8.3%。