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Sony delays earnings after ‘The Interview’ cyberattack

Sony Pictures has been thrown into damage control mode by the unflattering leaks/AFP

Sony delays earnings after ‘The Interview’ cyberattack/AFP

TOKYO, Jan 27- Sony said Tuesday it has won permission to delay the release of its quarterly earnings report, after a cyberattack damaged the computer network at its Hollywood film unit.

The Japanese firm said last week that it was asking for the delay because subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) would not have time to put together its financial statements after the attack, linked to its controversial North Korea satire “The Interview,” which has been widely blamed on Pyongyang.

Japanese regulators have now given a green light to the request, Sony said Tuesday.

“Sony currently expects that it can submit the quarterly securities report for the third quarter by March 31, 2015, the approved extended deadline for submission,” it said in a brief statement.

Tokyo based Sony, which was originally due to publish its earnings for the fiscal third quarter on February 4, has said it would still issue a press release and hold an earnings conference on the scheduled date to discuss its results to the “extent reasonably possible”.

The cyberattack caused “a serious disruption of SPE’s network systems including the destruction of network hardware and the compromise of a large amount of data”, Sony said last week.

It added that the attack was unlikely to have a material impact on its financial results.

“The Interview” was scheduled for a Christmas Day release before Sony became the target of the biggest cyberattack in US corporate history.

Threats made by hackers prompted Sony to initially cancel its theatrical release. It was eventually screened in select art house cinemas, and released on the Internet and via cable TV providers.

Washington has blamed North Korea for the hack on Sony — a claim Pyongyang has denied while still strongly condemning the film, which features a fictional plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un.

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“The Interview,” which had a $44 million budget, has since become Sony’s highest-grossing online film ever, reportedly recently passing the $40 million on the Internet and other small screen formats.

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