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The markets don’t seem fazed by the gigantic Sony cyber attack

Sony cyber attack.
AP Photo
Investors aren’t afraid of this.
By John McDuling
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

This week, the film studio Sony Pictures suffered one of the most damaging cyber attacks in recent memory.

It may or may not have been coordinated by North Korea in retaliation for the studio’s imminent releases, The Interview—a comedy about an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un. But whatever the source of the attack, all sorts of embarrassing and potentially harmful details are filtering out—including social security numbers and health records of employees, remuneration agreements with star actors, and sensitive financial information about TV syndication and movie licensing deals.

It is very bad news for Sony Pictures, and by extension its corporate parent, Sony Corp. But regardless, Sony’s US listing today is flirting with a one-year high.

It’s worth remembering that Sony Pictures is only a small part of the sprawling Sony Corp empire, which involves consumer electronics, devices, music and other product lines. In fiscal 2014 (which ended in March), the film unit accounted for just 10.6% of the company’s top line. That said, it did generate more operating income than any other division and last year, and hedge fund provocateur Dan Loeb has described the film business as a “hidden gem” that was being mismanaged. (Loeb is no longer a Sony investor, having exited his position after the company made operational changes.)

So the apparent indifference to what is being described as one of the worst cyber attacks in corporate history is surprising.

In other news about Sony Corp, the company is resisting political pressure to raise wages for Japanese employees, which would be positive for its earnings and good news for the stock price. And of course, there’s this week’s much-hyped announcement of the new James Bond spy movie, Spectre, which Sony will distribute alongside MGM.

But among investors, the real-life cyber attack potentially involving a secretive and highly aggressive communist regime, for now, doesn’t seem to be causing much fuss.

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