Sony delays earnings report in wake of hack attack

Damage to its network systems means some data won't be ready, it says.

Sony has requested approval to delay its third-quarter earnings report, citing damage to network systems in its Sony Pictures Entertainment division caused by the cyberattack it sustained late last year.

The November attack, which the FBI has http://www.techworld.com/news/security/fbi-blames-north-korea-for-sony-hack-citing-malware-evidence-3591744/">concluded was conducted by North Korea in order to protest release of the comedy film "The Interview," has resulted in new U.S. economic http://www.pcworld.com/article/2864292/white-house-approves-sanctions-against-north-korea-for-sony-hack.html">sanctions against the communist nation. Though it was initially pulled from theatrical release, the movie -- depicting a planned assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- was ultimately released in late December and earned more than $1 million on its opening day.

Sony Pictures, however, was left reeling from "a serious disruption" to its systems, the company explained in an http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/news/20150123_E.pdf">application with the Financial Services Agency of Japan on Friday. Included in the damage was "the destruction of network hardware and the compromise of a large amount of data on these systems," it said.

Sony Pictures shut down its entire network in response to the attack. While restoration work is under way, its financial and accounting applications won't be fully functional until early February 2015, it said.

As a result, it requested an extension of its regular Feb. 16 deadline for filing the report until March 31.

Although its results won't yet be ready, Sony will still stick to its previously scheduled Feb. 4 date for issuing a release and holding an earnings conference, it said, "so as to provide investors, shareholders, analysts, media and other stakeholders with updated forecasts."

The impact of the cyberattack on Sony's financial results does not appear to be material, Sony said, though it admitted its evaluation is still ongoing.

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Katherine Noyes

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