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Friday, January 18, 2013
Sony To Its 550 Madison Avenue Building For $1.1 Billion

Sony said it has agreed to sell its U.S. headquarters building in New York City for $1.1 billion to a consortium led by real estate developer The Chetrit Group.

The sale price is $1.1 billion, and it is expected that the transaction will close in March 2013. SCA and other Sony businesses (including Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Sony Pictures Entertainment, among others) will remain in the building for up to three years under a leaseback arrangement with the purchaser.

After repaying debt related to the building and other transaction costs, it is expected that Sony will receive net cash proceeds of approximately $770 million. Sony expects to realize a gain on the sale of approximately $685 million to be recorded as operating income.

Sony is currently reevaluating its forecast of the consolidated financial results for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 to take into account this sale and other factors that might affect such forecast.

The move is part of Sony's initiatives to strengthen its financial foundation and business competitiveness and for future growth. At the same time, Sony is balancing cash inflows and outflows while working to improve its cash flow by carefully selecting investments, selling assets and strengthening control of working capital such as inventory.

Under new Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, Sony is focusing on consumer electronics - particularly mobile phones, tablets and gaming - and shedding non-core assets, as it seeks to regain ground against rivals like Samsung and bounce back from four straight years of net losses.

The company has also put one of its main buildings in central Tokyo up for sale in a deal that could raise as much as 100 billion yen ($1.14 billion), Reuters had reported earlier.

Sony's CEO Kazuo Hirai believes that his company is headed in the right direction although its comeback is not yet complete.

Speaking at reporters in Tokyo, Hirai stressed he is making a point of personal involvement in product development to make sure good ideas don't get squelched.

Sony is taking a beating from Chinese, Taiwan and South Korean rivals that offer products at much cheaper prices. Hirai said Sony will target customers willing to pay more and won't get sucked into a price war.

Sony reports earnings next month for last year's final quarter. The numbers are expected to highlight a Sony midway through its recovery.

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