Sony Corp.’s Japanese shares were already primed to jump Wednesday morning ahead of the Tokyo market open. Part of the late U.S. rally for Sony may have been connected to investors’ confidence that the firm’s PlayStation 4 would be able to compete with Microsoft Corp.’s latest iteration of the Xbox gaming console, which the latter unveiled at an event in Redmond, Wash., late Tuesday.
But the really big story for Sony was an item in the Nikkei business daily saying the company was leaning toward a proposal from hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb to spin off the conglomerate’s massive entertainment division.
Some of the gains for Sony shares in Tokyo got “lost in translation” however, after the English version of a Nikkei report proved to be wrong.
The Nikkei enjoys a very strong reputation for breaking business news in Japan. In fact, its website includes a small section devoted solely to that day’s exclusive stories.
But it turned out that this particular development was the figment of a lone translator at the newspaper. Sony quickly pointed out that the original, Japanese-language version of the story said only that Sony had agreed to look at the proposal, but that ultimately, it still considered the entertainment arm as a key component of the company. It called on the Nikkei to correct the English version, which it did.
And so, after trading more than 11% higher in early Wednesday action, the Japanese shares of Sony pared their advance, though still managing a solid 6.9% gain in late afternoon trade. Perhaps that 4-point difference before and after the correction of the English-language report represented the money of investors who don’t speak Japanese.