May 27, 2021
Following separate high-profile industry mergers involving WarnerMedia and Discovery, and Amazon and MGM, Sony Pictures, which has no branded streaming service, might seem a logical acquisition target.
Not happening, according to Sony Corp. CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. In an interview with the Financial Times, Yoshida said the studio remains key to Sony’s ongoing strategy distributing content across music, films, video games and animation. Observers contend Sony Pictures Entertainment could fetch upwards of $30 billion on the M&A market.
“There is a drastic realignment in the media industry, but I think our strategy of creating content as an independent studio while working with various partners will work,” Yoshida said.
Indeed, rather than try and reinvent the streaming video wheel with a branded service as Warner Bros., Disney, Lionsgate and Paramount have done, Sony Pictures inked separate Pay 1 deals with Netflix and Disney+, among others.
“I think the reason we were able to sign good deals with Netflix and Disney is because they were attracted to our PlayStation Productions pipeline,” Yoshida said. “We can strengthen our ability to create content through such group-wide collaboration.”
The CEO admitted the company had looked at MGM, which Amazon acquired for $8.45 billion, which includes distribution rights to “James Bond” movies. Sony, like Comcast, had reportedly valued MGM’s assets around $6 billion.
“I think MGM has an incredible library, but everything comes with a price and that needs to be considered,” Yoshida said.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment reported fourth-quarter and fiscal-year 2020 (ended March 31) revenue of $139 million and $778 million respectively. That was down 54% ($164 million) and 15% ($140 million), respectively, from the previous-year period that ended just as the COVID-19 pandemic started. Overall studio revenue dropped 24% to $7.1 billion, from $9.3 billion in fiscal-year 2019.