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TOKYO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Sony Corp reported a higher than expected first-quarter operating profit on Thursday, boosted by strong sales of its flagship Xperia smartphones in Japan and rising shipments of image sensors to phone makers.
The bump in profitability may not be enough to please activist shareholder Daniel Loeb, whose New York-based Third Point hedge fund is proposing Sony spin off as much as one-fifth of the group's money-making entertainment arm - movies, TV and music.
The maker of PlayStation game consoles and Bravia TVs logged an operating profit of 36.36 billion yen ($369.68 million) in the April-June quarter, topping the 25.3 billion yen April-June operating profit expected by four analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company posted an operating profit of 6.3 billion yen in the same period last year.
Sony kept its full-year operating profit outlook unchanged from its May forecast of 230 billion yen, compared with a 225.8 billion yen full-year operating profit expected by 21 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It raised its full-year revenue forecast to 7.9 trillion yen from 7.5 trillion yen. ($1 = 98.3550 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Stephen Coates and Edmund Klamann)