Operating profits at the pictures division of Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony, leaped to $212 million in the three months from October to December 2020. That compares with a $51 million operating profit in the equivalent period in 2019.
The parent company enjoyed a 9% local currency gain in revenues, which hit JPY2.70 trillion in the period, which represents the third quarter of Sony’s 2020-2021 financial year. Net profits at the group level were up 62% to JPY 372 billion ($3.54 billion).
Nine months ago, as the impact of the coronavirus was only beginning to be felt, Sony said that it had strong financial reserves and was in a position to be acquisitive. The corporation used that financial muscle on several occasions in 2020.
It took a minority stake in Chinese video entertainment player Bilibili, and July took a stake in Epic Games. It also bought up the minority interest in Sony Financial Holdings, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. In December 2020, Sony Pictures announced the purchase of anime streamer Crunchyroll.
The day before Wednesday’s third quarter results announcement, Sony Music Entertainment announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Kobalt Music Group to acquire Kobalt’s recorded-music operations, including AWAL, and Kobalt Neighboring Rights. The acquisition is priced at $430 million.
AWAL and Neighbouring Rights will become a new division within SME’s suite of independent artist and label services offerings and will be enhanced by the technology and network of SME’s independent music distribution company, The Orchard, according to the announcement. AWAL has released music by Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Little Simz and others.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory clearance before completion and is not expected to have an impact on Sony’s financial results for the year to March 2021.
Sony shares, traded in Tokyo, closed at JPY10,465 apiece on Tuesday, a gain of 3% on the day. On Wednesday, ahead of the results announcement, they made further ground, moving up to JPY10.635.
– More to follow.