Call it the battle of the silver foxes.
Last week George Clooney, the Oscar-winning mega star, slammed Third Point Capital CEO Dan Loeb over the hedge fund manager’s recent critical remarks about Sony Entertainment’s performance.
Said Clooney: “[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles.”
“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, suggesting that he and Clooney share a “common goal” in that “a more disciplined company with better allocation of capital means less money spent on bureaucracy and more investment in motion pictures. We are all for intelligent investment in creative content. I believe our interests are aligned in a way he probably doesn’t realise.”
Loeb stuck to Sony and didn’t say more about Clooney (PS: don’t mess with Clooney).
“What we would expect is more disclosure and a more detailed plan for how they will improve profitability in their entertainment division, including specific profitability targets,” he said. “We will monitor their performance in coming quarters and revisit Sony’s progress around the time of next year’s annual meeting.” He said that Third Point will “continue to be highly engaged, maintain a dialogue with management, and expect to offer further suggestions to increase shareholder value.”
“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,” Loeb added.