Bureau Chief, Helsinki
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Feb 3, 2015

Japan’s Sharp sees 3rd loss in 4 years as smartphone display sales sag

TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Japanese electronics supplier Sharp
Corp warned it will slip into its third annual net loss
in four years as fierce pricing competition saps sales of
smartphone displays, the business line it had been counting on
for growth.

Reporting it reversed into a net loss for the quarter ended
December, Sharp said on Tuesday it will rethink strategy as it
expects to book a net loss of 30 billion yen ($256 million) this
fiscal year, compared with the 30 billion net profit it
previously forecast. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had
expected a full-year net profit of 22.4 billion yen.

Jan 28, 2015

Nintendo says slack console sales to hit operating profit, weak yen to lift bottom line

TOKYO/OSAKA (Reuters) – Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co on Wednesday issued a profit warning with a silver lining – even as it sells fewer consoles, the sharp weakening of the yen means overseas sales will inflate its net income this fiscal year.

The home of famed game characters like Mario the plumber said sales of its 3DS handheld device came up short in the year-end holiday season amid intense competition. While operating profit still grew nearly 50 percent in October-December from a year earlier, the third quarter is Nintendo’s biggest by far and it won’t make up the shortfall by end-March.

Jan 20, 2015

Itochu, CP Group to invest $10 billion in China’s Citic

TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Itochu Corp and Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) said on Tuesday that they plan to jointly invest $10 billion in Citic Ltd, part of China’s oldest and biggest conglomerate.

Itochu and CP Group plan to take a joint stake of 20 percent in Citic Ltd, increasing their exposure to the world’s second-biggest economy even as it slows from the blistering growth of the past decade.

Jan 12, 2015

Sony CEO eyes options as pressure mounts on weak TV, mobile

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai has weathered a crisis over a cyberattack on its Hollywood studio and its controversial comedy “The Interview”, but his toughest moment may be just arriving as he prepares a new business revival plan.

After failing to turn around the storied creator of the Walkman since taking the helm in April 2012, Hirai and his deputies are now open to options including sales and joint ventures for its money-losing TV and mobile phone operations, company officials familiar with the leadership’s thinking say.

Jan 6, 2015

Sony CEO sees no major financial impact from cyber attack

LAS VEGAS, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Sony Corp Chief
Executive Kazuo Hirai on Tuesday said he does not expect the
November cyber attack on the company’s film studio to have a
significant financial impact, two weeks after the studio rolled
out the movie at the heart of the attack.

The studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, said separately
that the film, “The Interview,” has generated revenue of $36
million.

Jan 6, 2015

Sony CEO praises employees, partners for standing up to hackers

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Sony Corp Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai on Monday praised employees and partners of the company’s Hollywood movie studio for standing up to “extortionist efforts” of hackers who attacked Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In his first public comments on the massive cyberattack, which the U.S. government has blamed on North Korea, Hirai said current and former employees of the studio were “the victims of one of the most vicious and malicious cyberattacks we have known in recent history.”

Dec 17, 2014

Leaked Sony emails show Loeb influence on studio execs

TOKYO/BOSTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Sony Corp movie
executives kept up a dialogue with hedge fund titan Daniel Loeb,
even after rebuffing the billionaire investor’s proposal to sell
up to one-fifth of the studio’s entertainment business, leaked
emails show.

Loeb’s New York-based Third Point took a 7 percent stake in
the company in May 2013 and suggested that proceeds from a sale
could be used to overhaul Sony’s struggling electronics
business.

Dec 15, 2014

Sony hacking highlights challenge to CEO Hirai’s ‘One Sony’ vision

TOKYO (Reuters) – Leaked emails reveal a cultural gulf between Japan’s Sony Corp and Hollywood subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment, highlighting the challenge of CEO Kazuo Hirai to turn around the money-losing company under the slogan One Sony.

The Japanese conglomerate is heading for its fifth net loss in six years, raising questions about its ability to hold on to businesses ranging from making television sets to movies. While activist hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb has given up his call for Sony to spin off its entertainment arm, others believe it should exit weak product lines such as TVs.

Dec 5, 2014

Struggling Sony to cut pay even as PM Abe calls for higher wages

TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Sony Corp is likely to cut
average pay next year in a rare move for a big Japanese company,
and one that goes against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for
higher wages to get the economy moving.

For a second year, Abe is pressuring major companies to
raise base pay in the fiscal year from April, and boost
investment, to kick-start a positive cycle of higher wages,
profits and prices to end 15 years of deflation.

Nov 23, 2014

South Korea holds winning hand as Japan gambling bill dies

TOKYO/SEOUL, Nov 24 (Reuters) – South Korea looks like the
consolation prize as Japan’s $15 billion casino dream fades, a
setback for companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp that
envisioned a new gaming hub rivalling Las Vegas in 2020.

A bill that would have legalised casino gambling died when
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament on
Friday to call a snap election. That means lawmakers cannot pass
regulatory legislation next year, making it highly unlikely any
casinos will be ready in time to profit from tourists arriving
for Japan’s 2020 summer Olympics.