Sony puts European HQ in Berlin up for sale


COLOGNE, Germany -- Sony Corp. is selling its Sony Center complex on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, headquarters to Sony's European operations and one of the city's most striking new landmarks erected in the German capital since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Sony said it would sell all shares in the complex to real estate funds managed by Morgan Stanley, German investment group Corpus Sireo and an affiliate of Chicago-based real estate company John Buck Co.

While all partners declined comment on the price tag, the sale is estimated to be in the 600 million euros-700 million euros ($906 million-$1.1 billion) range.

Sony said offloading the Berlin complex was part of its overall strategy of focusing on its core business areas of electronics and entertainment. But the sale is also an indication of the increasing demand for real estate in Berlin, particularly near Postdamer Platz. In December Daimler announced the sale of its Berlin office complex to Swedish banking group SEB.

The new owners will keep the name Sony Center, and the Japanese media giant will remain on as tenants, keeping Sony Group offices at the space.

The Sony Center was built after the fall of the wall in what used to be no-man's land between East and West Germany. With its futuristic glass-and-steel design (from architect Helmut Jahn), the complex has become a Berlin landmark and major tourist attraction, drawing more than 8 million visitors a year.