Last month, Third Point hedge funder Dan Loeb and actor George Clooney exchanged heated words in the press.
Loeb called out Sony for creating two big-budget firms that “bombed spectacularly” and not holding the co-CEOs of Sony Pictures Entertainment accountable. He suggested that Sony spin out its entertainment business from its electronics business, because it’s in “desperate need of proper supervision.”
Clooney fired back, essentially telling Loeb to stay out of his industry.
“You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great. It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets.”
Loeb has since clarified his stance on Sony and said he has great respect for Clooney.
Ashton Kutcher is one of a growing list of actors who is straddling both finance and acting professions. He’s invested more than $US100 million in startups such as Airbnb and Spotify. He considers himself both an artist and a technologist, similar to the man he played in his latest film, Steve Jobs.
What does Kutcher think of the exchange?
“I think it’s a little bit of naivete on both sides,” he tells CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. “One, to think you can walk into an artistic business and understand how that works or understand how the process works is naivete on that side. But being in the business for some time, the companies are extremely bloated and they do spend money on relationships. If you look at Steve Jobs as an example of that, right, there are times when your R&D and your drive and your spin toward innovation come up with nothing. And then there are times when that is the very vitality of your company. I wouldn’t necessarily say that George Clooney, or whoever is speaking on behalf of the studios, is necessarily 100% right. and I at the same time wouldn’t say that Dan Loeb’s position is exacting. That being said, Dan Loeb is responsible to a company and is responsible to the efficiencies of the company.”