Leaked emails reveal Sony considered selling its music publishing division

SonyATV canvasSony experienced a debilitating hack on its confidential information earlier this month, with hackers publishing reams of email correspondence between the company’s leaders online for public viewing. Some of these emails revealed that Sony Corp. was considering selling off the music publishing arm because of concerns over its growth prospects. Thanks to a 2012 acquisition, the music publishing arm includes Sony/ATV Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing.

According to Bloomberg, Sony Corp.’s main CFO, Kenichiro Yoshida, wrote to U.S. CFO Steve Kober and Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai on Oct. 3, stating, “I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Music Publishing business, which has a rather complex capital and governance structure and is impacted by the market shift to streaming.”

A separate email sent to several Sony executives on Nov. 21 contained a planning document including a presentation with information about the possible sale. Kober responded, “We are very surprised that the attached listing includes the comment about the sale of Sony/ATV. As you know quite well, this is a top-secret project that is being handled by me working directly with Michael and Nicole.”

The other two leaders involved in the top-secret sale are Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and Sony Corp. of America President Nicole Seligman.

Anna Washenko