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By Junko Fujita
TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sony Corp has sold one of its most prized Tokyo office buildings to Japanese real estate trust Nippon Building Fund Inc and one other investor for 111 billion yen ($1.2 billion), its second high-profile building sale this year.
The 25-storey Sony City Osaki building, completed in March 2011, houses 5,000 of its workers on a site once known as the “holy land” for Japan’s television manufacturing industry, where Sony’s Trinitron TV was launched in 1968.
Nippon Building Fund will take a 60 percent stake in the property, while another investor, which Sony did not name, will hold a 40 percent interest in the property, where Sony will continue to work for the next five years.
Last month Sony agreed to sell its U.S. headquarters building in New York City for $1.1 billion, the highest price paid for a single U.S. office property in two years.
It and other Japanese consumer electronics makers are selling assets to bring in cash as they fight to end losses at their television units, besieged by competition from South Korean rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
Sony City Osaki, near the firm’s Tokyo headquarters, is the nerve centre of its struggling TV and audio divisions.
The firm expects to report a gain on the sale of around 41 billion yen, to be recorded as operating income in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year that ends in March, it said in a statement.
Before the sale was announced, Sony had forecast net operating profit of 130 billion yen for the full year.
The transaction is the most expensive office property sale in Japan in almost four years, excluding a transfer of a property between two companies in the same group.
Japanese property fund manager Secured Capital bought an office building in central Tokyo’s Marunouchi district in 2009 for about 140 billion yen. ($1 = 91.6050 Japanese yen) (Additional reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)