By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TOKYO -Sony Corp. is planning to offer a tracking stock for its wholly owned Internet service provider, the Sony Communication Network Corp. Shareholders must approve the plan at an extraordinary meeting in January, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange must revise regulations to allow such shares.
If approved, Sony would be the first Japanese company to issue a tracking stock, which is intended to permit the company to let investors buy stock in the Internet service provider, without giving up any control.
Investors in the tracking stock would not own a share in the subsidiary, similar to conventional stock, with Sony continuing to own the business. Under the tracking plan, investors would be allowed to value it separately from the rest of Sony.
Sony's Internet service provider, called So-net, has suffered a steep decline in its share value during 1999.
If Sony's plan is accepted, tracking stock owners would receive the same dividend that Sony Communication Network pays to its parent, have the same voting rights as shareholders of the parent company, but no direct claim to assets of the Internet company if the parent falls on hard times.
Currently, tracking stocks are not allowed in Japan.
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