Sony selling Manhattan headquarters for $1.1 billion

By Daniel S Levine,

Sony, which is trying to overcome years of losses, is selling its U.S. headquarters based in Manhattan for $1.1 billion to a group of investors that includes the Chetrit Group.

The Tokyo-based company hopes that the sale generates $700 million after it pays off debts related to the building at 550 Madison Ave. and other expenses, notes Bloomberg. Sony said that several units, including Sony Music Entertainment, will still be based at the building for the next three years.

Sony has had to deal with four straight years of losses and increased competition from rivals like Samsung. Still, it predicts to post a profit of $223 million in the fiscal year ending in March. According to Reuters, new CEO Kazuo Hirai has been guiding the company in a new direction, focusing on phones, tablets and other consumer electronics.

Hirai’s new philosophy has made some in Hollywood nervous about the future of the company’s film unit, but Hirai recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the company is still committed to making movies.

“I have always said, when asked the question about why we have the entertainment properties, one of the most important reasons we have them in our business portfolio, just like why we have financial services, is that it's a profitable business to be in,” Hirai said this week.

The Chetrit Group also owns the Willis Tower in Chicago and the historic Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. The sale helped send Sony’s stock soaring 12 percent in early trading in Tokyo.

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