SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT, INC: Defendant

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (SPE) is the American entertainment subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony.[4]

Based in Culver City, California, it encompasses Sony’s motion picture, television production and distribution units. Its group sales in March 31, 2016 has been reported to be of $8.3 billion.[3]

Throughout the years, SPE has produced, distributed, or co-distributed successful franchises such as Spider-Man, Men in Black, Underworld, and Resident Evil.[5]

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America.[6]

Contents

History

On September 1, 1987, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to spin-off its assets of Columbia Pictures, which they had owned since 1982. Under this arrangement, Coca-Cola would sell their entertainment assets to Tri-Star Pictures, of which they owned 39.6%. Tri-Star would be renamed to Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (CPE), with Coca-Cola owning 49%, its shareholders owning 31%, and Tri-Star’s shareholders owning 20%.[7][8] A new company was formed in early 1988 with the Tri-Star name to take over the studio’s production operations.[9]

On September 28, 1989, Sony obtained an option to purchase all of The Coca-Cola Company‘s stock in CPE for $27 per share.[10] The next day, Sony also announced that it reached an agreement with Guber-Peters Entertainment Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPEC; formerly Barris Industries, Inc.) to acquire CPE for $200 million when Sony hired Peter Guber and Jon Peters to be its co-chairmen.[11] This was all led by Norio Ohga, who was the president and CEO of Sony during that time.

The hiring of Guber and Peters by Sony to run Columbia was conflicted by a previous contract the producers had signed at Warner Bros. Time Warner‘s chairman, Steve Ross, threatened Sony with a lawsuit for breach of contract. The lawsuit would be subsequently dropped when Sony sold half-interest in Columbia House and cable distribution rights to Columbia’s feature films, TV movies, and miniseries to Warner Bros. Said agreement also saw Columbia sell its 35% interest in the Burbank Studios, and acquired Lorimar Studios, previously the MGM lot, from Warner Bros.[12][13]

On October 31, 1989, Sony completed a friendly takeover bid for the rest of shares (51%) of CPE, which was a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KPE), and acquired 99.3% of the common stock of the company. On November 8, 1989, Sony completed the acquisition by a “short-form” merger of its wholly owned subsidiary Sony Columbia Acquisition Corporation into CPE under Delaware law. Sony also completed a tender offer for shares of common stock of the Guber-Peters Entertainment Company on November 6, 1989 and acquired the company on November 9, 1989. The acquisition cost Sony $4.9 billion ($3.55 billion for shares and $1.4 billion of long-term debt) and was backed (financed) by five major Japanese banks Mitsui, Tokyo, Fuji, Mitsubishi and Industrial Bank of Japan.[14][15][16] The company was renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991.[17][18]

Sony has since created numerous other film production and distribution units, such as creating Sony Pictures Classics for art-house fare, by forming Columbia TriStar Pictures (also known as the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group) by merging Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures in 1998, revitalizing Columbia’s former television division Screen Gems. It expanded its operations on April 8, 2005, when a Sony-led consortium acquired the legendary Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in a US$4.8 billion leveraged buyout, through the holding company MGM Holdings Inc.[19][20][21]

On June 4, 2008, SPE’s wholly owned group 2JS Productions B.V. acquired Dutch production company 2waytraffic N.V., famous for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and You Are What You Eat for £114.3 million ($223.2 million in US dollars).

In 2011, the Sony Pictures computer network was breached and approximately one million user accounts associated with the SonyPictures.com website were leaked.[22]

On November 18, 2012, Sony Pictures announced it has passed $4 billion with the success of releases: Skyfall, The Amazing Spider-Man, 21 Jump Street, Men in Black 3, Hotel Transylvania, Underworld: Awakening, The Vow, and Resident Evil: Retribution.[5] On November 21, 2013, SPE and Sony Entertainment’s CEO Michael Lynton announced that SPE will shift emphasis from movies to television by cutting its 2014 film slate.[23][24][25][26] It was also announced on the same day, that there will be more Spider-Man sequels and spin-offs.[27]

On January 22, 2014, SPE folded its technology unit into its various cores of its businesses.[28] In April, Sony Pictures arranged a film financing deal worth $200 million with LStar Capital, the credit venture of Lone Star Capital and CitiBank, half in debt and the other in equity to fund most of SPE’s film slate for several years. SPE was originally considering a $300 million deal with Blue Anchor Entertainment, led by Bloom Hergott partner John LaViolette and former investment banker & producer Joseph M. Singer, and backed by Longhorn Capital Management and Deutsche Bank, which was held up by regulatory matters.[29] On February 6, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment, through their legal name “Columbia TriStar Warner Filmes de Portugal Ltda.”, announced that they will close their offices in Portugal on March 31.[30]

On November 20, 2015, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that they will release Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases. The first set will be in early 2016 and will include film and television content.[31]

In November 2014, the Sony Pictures computer network was compromised by a group of hackers named Guardians of Peace, disabling many computers.[32] Later the same week, five of Sony Pictures’ movies were leaked, including some not yet released (such as Fury and Annie), as well as confidential data about 47,000 current and former Sony employees.[33][34][35] Film historian Wheeler Winston Dixon suggested that the hack, which exposed the inner workings of the studio, was “not a pretty picture,” and served as a “wake-up call to the entire industry.”[36] The hack also revealed some other plans, like a partnership with Marvel Studios for the inclusion of the superhero Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War.[37] On December 16, the hackers issued a warning to moviegoers, threatening to attack anyone who sees The Interview during the holidays and urging people to “remember the 11th of September 2001“.[38] On December 17, 2014 Sony cancelled the previously planned December 25 release of The Interview in response to hacker threats.[39]

On February 24, 2015, Tom Rothman was named chairman of SPE’s motion picture group to replace Amy Pascal.[40][41]

On April 16, 2015, WikiLeaks published over 30,287 documents, 173,132 e-mails, and 2,200 corporate e-mail addresses of Sony Pictures’ employees. WikiLeaks said in a press release that the content of the leaks were “newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict” and belonged “in the public domain”. Sony Pictures later condemned the hack and subsequent leaks, calling it a “malicious criminal act”, while also criticizing WikiLeaks for describing the leaked content as public domain.[42][43]

Corporate structure

Headquartered in Culver City, California, USA, SPE comprises various studios and entertainment brands, including Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures and GSN.

Senior management team

List of holdings

Motion Pictures and Home Entertainment

  • Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group:[44] With a library of more than 4,000 films (including 12 Academy Award for Best Picture winners), as of 2004 this unit of Sony distributes about 22 films a year under its various studio brands in 67 countries.[46] The group owns studio facilities in the United States, Hong Kong, Madrid, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Japan. In addition to the company-owned brands below, Sony Pictures also has a contract to distribute select films by MGM and UA.
    • Columbia Pictures: Founded in 1924 by Harry Cohn, Sony acquired the studio in 1989 from The Coca-Cola Company for $3.4 billion.[14][15]
    • TriStar Pictures: Formed in 1982 as a joint venture between Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS. Became part of Columbia Pictures Entertainment in December 1987 and the Sony ownership in 1989. Was relaunched in 2004 as a marketing and acquisitions unit that specializes in genre and independent films.
    • Screen Gems: Originally Columbia’s animation division and later a television production company best known for TV’s Bewitched and The Partridge Family, as well as bringing The Three Stooges short subjects to TV in 1958. Sony revived the Screen Gems brand to develop mid-priced movies (production budget of between $20 million and $50 million) in specific genres such as science fiction, horror, black cinema and franchise films.
    • Sony Pictures Classics (SPC): Specializes in acquiring North American distribution rights to art-houseindependent and foreign films as well as producing lower-budget productions geared to limited audiences.[46]
    • Sony Pictures Imageworks[47]
    • Sony Pictures Animation
    • Sony Pictures Releasing: Founded in 1994[48] as Triumph Releasing Corporation. The unit handles distribution, marketing and promotion for films produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment; including Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, among others.
      • Sony Pictures Releasing International (formerly Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International)
        • Sony Pictures India, production house established by Sony to release Indian movies and distribute Hollywood movies, released under Columbia Pictures.
        • Monumental Pictures: A Russian motion picture studio formed on February 2, 2006 as a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Russia-based Patton Media Group producing and releasing Russian language films in Russia, the CIS, and Mongolia.
    • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: Manufactures and distributes the Sony film library on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and UMD forms to global markets.
    • Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA): A Sony division which acquires and produces about 60 films per year for a wide variety of distribution platforms, especially for non-theatrical markets. It had been called Worldwide SPE Acquisitions, Inc. until September 2010.

Television

Production and distribution
International production
  • 2waytraffic: Acquired by Sony in 2008, this television production company owns a number of formats, most notably including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
  • Electric Ray: Founded by Karl Warner with SPT in January 2014.[49]
  • Floresta
  • Gogglebox Entertainment
  • Huaso: A Chinese joint venture production company launched in 2004 by Sony Pictures Television International and Hua Long Film Digital Production Co., Ltd. of the China Film Group in Beijing.[50]
  • Lean-M Producers Center: A Russian production company founded in 2000 by Timur Weinstein, Vyacheslav Murugov and Oleg Osipov. In 2007, SPTI acquired a majority stake in Lean-M, with an additional 16% on April 13, 2009 [51] and the remainder in 2010.
  • Left Bank Pictures: A UK production company founded by Andy Harries, Francis Hopkinson, and Marigo Kehoe in 2007. Majority stake acquired by SPT in 2012.
  • Playmaker Media: An Australian production company acquired by SPT in 2014.[52]
  • Silver River Productions
  • Starling
  • Stellify Media: A joint venture between SPT, Kieran Doherty, and Matt Worthy launched in 2014 for Northern Ireland.[53]
  • Teleset
  • Victory Television: A UK television production company that was founded in 2011; a joint-venture with Victoria Ashbourne.
Television networks
USA
International

Other Sony Pictures operations

Entrance to SPE main lot in Culver City
  • Sony Pictures Cable Ventures, Inc.
  • Sony Pictures Studios: The actual physical buildings, land and movie-making equipment properties in Culver City, California. Includes 22 sound stages, ranging in size from 7,600 to 43,000 square feet (700 to 4,000 m²)
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ): The company plans, produces, manufactures, sells, imports, exports, leases, broadcasts and distributes movies, TV programs, videos and audio-visual software in Japan. The company web site says it was established on February 10, 1984,[60] predating Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures Entertainment by 5 years. SPEJ was formed in 1991 through the merger of Columbia TriStar Japan, RCA-Columbia Pictures Video Japan, and Japan International Enterprises.[61] Based in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Sony Pictures Europe: Offices located at 25 Golden Square, London, England
  • Sony Pictures Studios Post Production Facilities
  • Worldwide Product Fulfillment

References

 

 

  1. History of Columbia Pictures Part 3, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (in Japanese)

External links