The famous torch lady of Columbia Pictures Entertainment Co. got a new moniker Wednesday as the board unanimously voted to rename the company Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The name change is designed to lessen confusion between the parent company and its two subsidiaries--Columbia Pictures and Tri-Star Pictures. It also raises the profile of Sony Inc., the Japanese electronics giant that acquired Columbia for $3.4 billion in 1989.
"We felt this was important for strengthening the company," Chairman Peter Guber said.
Sony will retain the famous Columbia logo, which depicts a robed woman holding a torch, as the firmcompany's official symbol. The logo appears at the beginning of all Columbia Pictures releases. Ironically, the name change comes just two weeks after the company erected a huge "Columbia Pictures" banner at its Culver City headquarters.
In a letter to employees, Guber said the name change was local management's idea, not Sony's. "We're changing the name of our corporate entity only," Guber wrote. "This will not affect how we do business in any way."
In addition to the two studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment will encompass Columbia Pictures Television, two Culver City studio facilities, Merv Griffin Enterprises, Loews Theatres and a video division that will be renamed Columbia Tri-Star Home Video.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is one of three units under Sony Software. The others are Sony Music Entertainment (formerly known as CBS Records) and Sony Electronic Publishing.