Sony puts Tokyo building up for sale in $1.1 billion deal: sources

TOKYO Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:28am EST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp (6758.T) has 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) as the company seeks to sell non-core assets to generate cash to improve its balance sheet, people with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Sony is trying to sell the 25-storey Sony City Osaki building that houses 5,000 employees, most of whom are involved in making television sets and audio equipment.

The Sony employees will remain in the current location as the company will lease back the space from the future owner, one of the people said.

Sony is also trying to sell its U.S. headquarters, which is expected to fetch between $800 to $1,000 per square foot as part of the effort by CEO Kazuo Hirai to turn around its businesses.

Sony City Osaki was completed in March 2011 after the company renovated a building that produced the Trinitron, a CRT-based television set that Sony developed. The site was known as the "holy land" in Japan for television sets.

Foreign and domestic investment funds have been notified about the sale of the 124,000 square-meter building located near its headquarters.

($1 = 87.1300 Japanese yen)

(This story corrects headline figure to $1.1 billion, corrects number of employees in second paragraph, corrects area in final paragraph to square metres)

(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Reiji Murai; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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