On September 1, 1987, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to spin-off its assets of Columbia Pictures, which they had owned since 1982. Under this arrangement, Coca-Cola would sell their entertainment assets to Tri-Star Pictures, of which they owned 39.6%. Tri-Star would be renamed to Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (CPE), with Coca-Cola owning 49%, its shareholders owning 31%, and Tri-Star's shareholders owning 20%. A new company was formed in early 1988 with the Tri-Star name to take over the studio's production operations.
On September 28, 1989, Sony Corporation obtained an option to purchase all of The Coca-Cola Company's stock in CPE for $27 per share. The next day, Sony also announced that it reached an agreement with Guber-Peters Entertainment Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPEC; formerly Barris Industries, Inc.) to acquire the company for $200 million when Sony hired Peter Guber and Jon Peters to head CPE. It was all led by Norio Ohga, who was the president and CEO of Sony during that time.
Guber and Peters' hiring by Sony to run Columbia was conflicted by a previous contract the producers signed at Warner Bros.Time Warner's chairman, Steve Ross, threatened Sony with a lawsuit for breach of contract. The lawsuit would be subsequently dropped when Sony sold half-interest in Columbia House and cable distribution rights to Columbia's feature films, TV movies, and miniseries to Warners. Said agreement also saw Columbia sell its 35% interest in the Burbank Studios, and acquired Lorimar Studios, previously the MGM lot, from Warner Bros.
On October 31, 1989, Sony completed a friendly takeover bid for the rest of shares (51%) of CPE, which was a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KPE), and acquired 99.3% of the common stocks of the company. On November 8, 1989, Sony completed the acquisition by a "short-form" merger of its wholly owned subsidiary Sony Columbia Acquisition Corporation into CPE under Delaware law. Sony also completed a tender offer for shares of common stock of the GPEC on November 6, 1989 and acquired the company on November 9, 1989. The acquisition cost Sony $4.9 billion ($3.55 billion for shares and $1.4 billion of long-term debt) and was backed (financed) by 5 major Japanese banks Mitsui, Tokyo, Fuji, Mitsubishi and Industrial Bank of Japan. The company was renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991.
Sony has since created numerous other film production and distribution units, such as creating Sony Pictures Classics for art-house fare, by forming Columbia TriStar Pictures (also known as the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group) by merging Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures in 1998, revitalizing Columbia's former television division Screen Gems. It expanded its operations on April 8, 2005, when a Sony-led consortium acquired the legendary Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in a US$4.8 billion leveraged buyout, through the holding company MGM Holdings Inc.
On November 21, 2013, SPE and Sony Entertainment's CEO Michael Lynton announced that SPE will shift emphasis from movies to television by cutting its 2014 film slate. It was also announced on the same day, that there will be more Spider-Man sequels and spin-offs.
On January 22, 2014, SPE folded its technology unit into its various cores of its businesses.
Executive Vice Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Chairman, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution
List of holdings
Sony Pictures Plaza in Culver City, California
Motion Pictures and Home Entertainment
Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group: With a library of more than 4,000 films (including 12 Academy Award for Best Picture winners), as of 2004 this unit of Sony distributes about 22 films a year under its various studio brands in 67 countries. The group owns studio facilities in the United States, Hong Kong, Madrid, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Japan. In addition to the below company-owned brands, Columbia TriStar also has a contract to distribute films for independent Revolution Studios and select films by MGM and United Artists.
TriStar Pictures Formed in 1982 as a joint venture between Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS. Became part Columbia Pictures Entertainment in December 1987 and the Sony ownership in 1989. Was relaunched in 2004 as a marketing and acquisitions unit that specializes in genre and independent films.
Screen Gems: Originally Columbia's animation division and later a television production company best known for TV's Bewitched and The Partridge Family, as well as bringing The Three Stoogesshort subjects to TV in 1958. Sony revived the Screen Gems brand to develop mid-priced movies (production budget of between $20 million and $50 million) in specific genres such as science fiction, horror, black cinema and franchise films.
Sony Pictures Releasing International (formerly Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International)
Sony Pictures India, production house established by Sony to release Indian movies and distribute Hollywood movies, released under Columbia Pictures.
Monumental Pictures: A Russian motion picture studio formed on February 2, 2006 as a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Russia-based Patton Media Group producing and releasing Russian language films in Russia, the CIS, and Mongolia.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA): A Sony division which acquires and produces about 60 films per year for a wide variety of distribution platforms, especially for non-theatrical markets. It had been called Worldwide SPE Acquisitions, Inc. until September 2010.
Barris Industries: Formed in 1965 by Chuck Barris as Chuck Barris Productions. Renamed to Barris Industries in 1981. Merged with the Guber-Peters Company in 1988 and renamed as Guber-Peters Entertainment Company in 1989.
Barry & Enright Productions (post-scandal), including Jack Barry Productions: Formed in 1947 by Jack Barry and Dan Enright, shut down in 1959, and reformed in 1975. Later renamed Stafford-Enright Productions in 1991. Sony acquired the library in 1992.
Electric Ray: Founded by Karl Warner with SPT in January 2014.
ELP Communications (ELPC) and Tandem Licensing Corporation (TLC): The two in-name only units of Sony Pictures Television own the productions' copyrights presented by Norman Lear's companies: Tandem Productions and ELP Communications (series from T.A.T. to ELP Communications). The companies were formed by Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear in 1958 as Tandem Productions. Yorkin ended his partnership with Lear in 1975, but remained with Tandem. Lear and his partner Jerry Perenchio sold Tandem/Embassy Television to The Coca-Cola Company in 1985 and later became Embassy Communications in 1986 (later became ELP Communications in 1988). ELPC and TLC are part of Sony Pictures Entertainment since 1991.
Embassy Row: A television and digital production company by Michael Davies. SPT acquired the company on January 14, 2009.
Lean-M Producers Center: A Russian production company founded in 2000 by Timur Weinstein, Vyacheslav Murugov and Oleg Osipov. In 2007, SPTI acquired a majority stake in Lean-M, with an additional 16% on April 13, 2009  and the remainder in 2010.
Left Bank Pictures: A UK production company founded by Andy Harries, Francis Hopkinson, and Marigo Kehoe in 2007. Majority stake acquired by SPT in 2012.
Merv Griffin Enterprises: Founded in 1964 by Merv Griffin as Merv Griffin Productions. He sold his company to The Coca-Cola Company in 1986 as Merv Griffin Enterprises and was a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures Entertainment from 1988 to 1991 and Sony Pictures Entertainment from 1991 to 1994.
Silver River Productions
Stellify Media: A joint venture between SPT, Kieran Doherty, and Matt Worthy launched in 2014 for Northern Ireland.
Victory Television: A UK television production company that was founded in 2011; a joint-venture with Victoria Ashbourne.
Sony Pictures Television Networks
Animax: Instituted in Japan by Sony in 1998, Animax is the world's largest anime television network, with respective networks operating across Japan, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America and other regions. However, Animax was cut off from Vietnam cable network in 2010 without any reason
AXN: Formed in 1997, AXN is Sony's entertainment television network, which airs across Japan, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Cine Sony Television
Crackle (formerly known as Grouper Networks): Crackle is a digital platform of Sony Pictures. It hosts videos on YouTube, Hulu, Dailymotion, and its own site, etc. Crackle is operated by SPT.
Sony Pictures Studios: The actual physical buildings, land and movie-making equipment properties in Culver City, California. Includes 22 sound stages, ranging in size from 7,600 to 43,000 square feet (700 to 4,000 m²)
Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ): The company plans, produces, manufactures, sells, imports, exports, leases, broadcasts and distributes movies, TV programs, videos and audio-visual software in Japan. The company web site says it was established on February 10, 1984, predating Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures Entertainment by 5 years. SPEJ was formed in 1991 through the merger of Columbia TriStar Japan, RCA-Columbia Pictures Video Japan, and Japan International Enterprises. Based in Tokyo, Japan.
Sony Pictures Europe: Offices located at 25 Golden Square, London, England
Sony Pictures Loot: A newly formed group of developers that creates experiences and products for PlayStation Home. Their products include premium personal spaces and decorative ornaments and clothes/costumes for the users personal spaces and avatars. The premium personal spaces have equipment that allows users, if hooked up to a video capture system, make their own machinimas in Home.