Sony Says Studio Hack Cost $15 Million in Fiscal Third Quarter

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Sony Corp. said it has spent an estimated $15 million investigating and recovering from the massive cyberattack that crippled its film studio.

Since November, Sony Pictures Entertainment has been working to repair the damage caused by a group calling itself Guardians of Peace in an assault that the U.S. government has blamed on North Korea.

The Tokyo-based electronics giant disclosed the $15 million in “investigation and remediation costs” as part of its Wednesday earnings forecast for its fiscal third quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

Analysts had said the costs to the company from the hacking attack could end up totaling tens of millions of dollars. However, Sony executives in Japan told reporters that the company doesn’t expect a significant loss as a result of the assault.

“We had insurance against cyberattacks and will be able to recover a significant portion of the costs,” said Kazuhiko Takeda, vice president of Sony’s corporate planning department, according to The Associated Press.

To be sure, the effect on the studio is not limited to the costs of finding the hackers and repairing the damage. The cyberattack resulted in troves of sensitive data leaking onto the internet, including some embarrassing emails between executives and thousands of Social Security numbers belonging to people connected to the company.

For its full fiscal year that ends in March, Sony Pictures is forecasting about $7.6 billion in sales, an increase from its earlier forecast. However, it lowered its operating-income forecast because of costs from the hack and lower revenue from its media networks business.

Sony’s total sales were $21.1 billion in the quarter, up about 6 percent from a year ago, thanks in part to strong sales of the PlayStation 4 game console.

The company also raised forecasts for the full year, including an improved outlook for sales and a narrower net loss. In its earnings statement, the firm said the effect of the cyberattack on Sony Pictures “will not be material.”

Investors were cheered by the news. On Wednesday, U.S. shares of Sony Corp. rose $2.55, or 10.9 percent, to $25.94.