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Sony Pictures Profits Exceed $1.3 Billion in Latest Quarter




Sony Pictures achieved net profits of $1.3 billion in the three months to December 2021, boosted by a return to theatrical releasing and the blockbuster performance of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

The $1.31 billion figure compares with profits of $194 million in the equivalent quarter of 2020, and with profits of $288 million in the preceding three months to end of September 2021.

Parent company, Sony Group’s net profits grew by 20% in the three months to December 2021 hitting JPY461 billion ($4.15 billion at an average Dollar to Japanese Yen exchange rate of $1=JPY111). Sales were up by 13% to JPY3.03 trillion ($27.2 billion.).

The bumper results, unusually, made the pictures division the largest contributor to Sony’s consolidated net profits. The pictures division includes the movie studios, television production and TV network operations.

The games and network services division increased its year-on-year profitability in the quarter to JPY92.9 billion (837 million), up from JPY80.8 billion. Music sector net profits slipped from JPY59.1 billion to JPY55.1 billion ($496 million) in the latest quarter.

Behind pictures and games, the electronics division chipped in a sharply lower net contribution of JPY80 billion ($720 million).

Already in 2022, Sony has announced moves to bulk up two of its most consistently profitable business lines, games and semiconductors.

It agreed to invest $500 million as a minority investor in a new Japan-located chip foundry being built by Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC.

Sony Interactive Entertainment also announced the $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie, a U.S.-based games developer previously responsible for the “Halo” and “Destiny” franchises.

The games sector, where demand has already been buoyed by the effects of lockdowns and COVID, is becoming more competitive at a corporate level. In recent weeks Microsoft has agreed a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, while Take-Two Interactive announced plans for a $12.7 billion takeover of casual games firm Zynga.

News of the Activision Blizzard mega-deal was seen as an escalation of the battle between Microsoft and Sony, which are both games console manufacturers and gaming network operators.
Sony’s shares, which had reached a multi-year high of JPY15,725 at the beginning of 2022, slumped by as much as 20% following Microsoft’s announcement. The stock has since perked up, but remains some 11% lower year-to-date.

On Wednesday, ahead of the results announcement, the Tokyo-traded stock closed up by more than 4% on the day, at JPY13,225.