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Sony loss widens

SONY STILL BLEEDING RED INK: Sony Corp. reported a wider loss in its fiscal Q1 as the strong yen, restructuring costs and continuing losses in its core electronics business hammered its bottom line. The beleaguered company posted a net loss of Y 24.64 billion ($314 million) in the three months ending June 30, compared with a loss of Y15.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. In the music sector—not just Sony Music—the company said it suffered both lower sales and profit, partly because the overall music market shrank and the slate of major releases in Japan was off compared to last year. Also, Sony, in conjunction with the Michael Jackson estate, paid $320 million of the $2.2 billion total price in the June acquisition of EMI Music Publishing to control a 40% stake in the joint venture. Still, sources say Sony Music Entertainment itself, apart from Sony/ATV and Sony Music Japan, with which it is lumped in for purposes of the report, showed a "double-digit operating profit" for the quarter. Never the less. it would seem new CEO Kazuo Hirai has his work cut out for him. (8/2a)

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