Sony Sells Tokyo Office Building for $1.2 Billion

4:13 AM PST 02/28/2013 by Gavin J. Blair

The conglomerate will book proceeds of $445 million in its current quarter for the sale of its Sony City Osaki building, following a similar deal for its U.S. headquarters.

TOKYO -- Sony will book proceeds of $445 million (¥41 billion) for its current fiscal quarter after the sale of its Sony City Osaki office building in central Tokyo, the company said Thursday.

The electronics and entertainment giant sold the 25-story building to a Japanese property fund and institutional investor for $1.2 billion (¥111.1 billion) but will remain there under a lease -- an arrangement similar to the company's recent sale of its New York headquarters.

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The building houses about 5,000 employees, including Sony’s crucial but loss-making television division. Plans to sell the building, the company's second-largest property in Japan behind its headquarters, were announced last month.

Last week, Sony sold part of its stake in health-care data provider M3 to Deutsche Securities.

Sony also has been investing: It became the largest shareholder in Olympus Corp. in September after increasing its stake in the troubled camera and medical-equipment maker to 11.5 percent.

Olympus, best known for consumer cameras but a moneymaker with medical endoscopes, was decimated by scandal in 2011, after it came to light that the company had cooked its books for years to hide $1.7 billion in losses.

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Britain's Michael Woodford, the first non-Japanese person to head Olympus, was fired as CEO and forced out of his company apartment in Tokyo after confronting the board of directors with evidence of the accounting fraud. Several former senior executives are facing criminal charges, and Woodford is negotiating to have his story made into a film.

Investing in Olympus is seen as a way for Sony to enter the lucrative medical-equipment sector.

Sony shares have risen more than 50 percent since December, when they hit a multidecade low.

Twitter@GavinJBlair

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