Sony Corp seeks to postpone earnings report over cyber attack

MUMBAI: Sony Corporation has asked the Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan for permission to delay the release of its earnings next month after a cyber attack at its Hollywood film unit compromised "a large amount of data" in its systems. 

The media giant has submitted an application for approval of extension of deadline to file the quarterly securities report for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2015.

In November 2014, Sony Corp’s motion picture business subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc (SPE) identified a cyber attack on its network and IT infrastructure. As a result of the cyber attack, which has been now recognized as a highly sophisticated and damaging cyber attack, a serious disruption of SPE’s network systems occurred, including the destruction of network hardware and the compromise of a large amount of data on these systems. In response to this cyber attack, SPE shut down its entire network.

Since that time, SPE has been working aggressively to restore these systems. However, most of SPE’s financial and accounting applications and many other critical information technology applications will not be functional until early February 2015 due to the amount of destruction and disruption that occurred, and the care necessary to avoid further damage by prematurely restarting functions. After the restoration of these applications, SPE will immediately commence the actions necessary to close its third quarter financial statements.

However, the company said that even with the anticipated restoration of these applications in early February 2015, SPE will not have sufficient time to close its financial statements in time for submission of the quarterly securities report in the middle of February 2015. 

“SPE must then enter transactional data for the two-month period the systems were offline and perform verification procedures over the restored data. For these reasons, Sony expects that it cannot complete its preparation, including the review by our independent accountants, of its consolidated financial statements for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2015, by 16 February, 2015, the original deadline for submission of the quarterly securities report for this third quarter,” the company said.

Accordingly Sony has filed an application with the FSA for approval to extend the deadline for submission of the report to 31 March, 2015. Considering the current status, Sony expects that it can complete its preparation of its financial statements as described above and submit the quarterly securities report for the third quarter by 31 March, 2015.

Sony had planned to issue its earnings release and hold press/analyst conferences about the consolidated financial results for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2015 on 4 February, 2015. Although Sony expects that SPE will not complete its third-quarter closing processes by the said date, for the reasons described above, the company plans to issue a release and hold press/analyst conferences on that date so as to provide investors, shareholders, analysts, media and other stakeholders with updated forecasts of Sony’s consolidated financial results for the third quarter, to the extent reasonably possible, based on the information available on that date. While Sony continues to evaluate the impact of the cyber attack on its financial results, it currently believes that such impact is not material.

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