Sony Pictures Entertainment is considering selling half of its fledgling animation studio, maker of the films "Surf's Up" and "Open Season," and even more of its thriving 15-year-old digital visual-effects company, which pioneered computer-generated imaging techniques in films like "Stuart Little," "The Polar Express" and the "Spider-Man" movies, the New York Times reports.


Sony Pictures, a unit of the Sony Corporation, has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin to assess the value of the two divisions. An outright sale of both, which is possible, could bring around $500 million, according to people involved in the discussions.

All told, Sony has invested more than $400 million in the animation and effects businesses over the years.

One person involved in the talks, who spoke anonymously because the matter is still at an early stage, said the company intended to sell no more than a 50 percent stake in the five-year-old Sony Pictures Animation, which had modest success with "Open Season" last year.


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