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Sony announces first share buyback of $910m, stock rises 5 percent

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Signage for Sony Corp. is seen outside the company's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Signage for Sony Corp. is seen outside the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Sony announced on Friday a share buyback of 100 billion yen ($910 million) — its first ever aimed at boosting shareholder returns — sending the Japanese electronics and entertainment company’s shares up more than 5 percent.

Sony said the buyback, to be conducted through March 22, would be equivalent to 2.36 percent of its outstanding stock.

“Our financial health has improved enough to conduct the repurchases,” a Sony spokesman said, as the company reinvented itself as an entertainment company with stable revenue from music content and gaming, after battling years of losses with price-competitive consumer electronics.

The spokesman said Sony also took into account current share price levels.

Sony shares had plunged 14 percent this week after the company reported lower-than-expected profit as its previously thriving gaming business sagged, though a one-off gain related to its acquisition of EMI nevertheless pushed the quarterly result to a record high.

Sony’s announcement comes a day after SoftBank Group’s shares jumped 17 percent after the Japanese tech investment giant unveiled a record share buyback.

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