Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Loss-saddled Sony to sell Tokyo ‘birthplace’: reports

AFP, TOKYO

Sony Corp will sell properties at a prestigious Tokyo site where it had its headquarters for six decades, as the once-world-beating conglomerate struggles to improve its bottom line, reports said yesterday.

The Japanese company is looking for a buyer for several buildings that once served as the control tower for its sprawling operations, Japan’s Nikkei daily said, in a move that stands as a clean signifier for the diminished fortunes of the consumer electronic giant.

The properties are in the Gotenyama area of Japan’s capital metropolis near Shinagawa railway station, where land prices have been on the rise recently.

The properties are expected to fetch about ¥15 billion (US$147 million), the economic paper said.

Jiji Press news agency said the sale was intended to help make up for losses from Sony’s slumping electronics business division, which includes television and personal computer operations.

Sony declined to comment on the reports.

Several hundred people from the group’s various operations currently work in the locations. The company’s shares rose 1.3 percent to ¥1,780.

In 2007, Sony sold a portion of the site, moving its headquarters to the opposite side of Shinagawa station.

HISTORIC LOCALE

Sony started as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo — or Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp — in 1946, the year after Japan’s defeat in World War II.

The following year, it moved from a different site in the capital to the Gotenyama area, where it grew into a global technology player built on its groundbreaking transistor radios, Walkman portable audio cassette players and popular televisions.

The Nikkei and Jiji said a museum dedicated to archiving Sony’s epoch-making products would be one of the company’s few remaining properties at the site.

US STORE CLOSURES

The embattled company said on Wednesday it is closing 20 US retail stores, leaving just 11 retail stores in a market it once dominated.

The store closures and layoffs are part of an effort by Sony Electronics to cut 1,000 jobs or one-third of its staff, part of a global workforce reduction by Sony of 5,000 that was announced last month.

US$1 BILLION LOSS

Sony on Feb. 6 warned investors that it would book a US$1.08 billion annual loss and cut 5,000 jobs while exiting the stagnant PC market this year as the once-mighty electronics giant struggles to reinvent itself in the digital age.

Sony will keep its flagship New York retail store among the 11 remaining open. The 20 closures stretch across the US, including retail stores in California, Florida, Virginia and New Jersey.

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