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Japan’s Sony Corp. has just announced it will be selling its U.S. headquarters building in Manhattan as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts. While Sony will remain in the Madison Avenue tower for the next three years as part of a lease agreement, a group of investors have agreed to make the purchase for $1.1 billion.
This announcement follows a similar decision made by Sony in Japan to sell its landmark Tokyo building for $1.2 billion. While CEO Kazuo Hirai just stated yesterday that the TV and electronics manufacturer was on its way to recovery, Sony still has a lot of debt to handle and must continue to liquidate unnecessary assets. The firm estimates the deal will result in $770 million in net proceeds after the property is paid off. Sony adds that it expects the sale to be completed before the end of March, just prior to the start of the 2013 fiscal year.
Standing 37 stories tall, the New York tower was originally built in 1984 for telecom giant AT&T, while Sony purchased it in 2002. CEO Hirai has been quick to admit that recent times have been rough for Sony, with the last four years spent in the red, and roughly $10 billion lost on TVs over the last decade. Since assuming his position in April of last year, however, he has made quick progress on his restructuring program valued at $945 million. In addition to major consolidations throughout the company, he announced an elimination of 10,000 jobs worldwide.
Sony has put a 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 50,000 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.
The presidents of Sony Computer Entertainment’s U.S. and Japan divisions have recently, in separate interviews, stepped up to defend PlayStation Vita’s position in the marketplace.
The new handheld game machine has been struggling at retail, with neither the hardware nor software showing signs of standing up to the competition. Recent Sony losses forced the company to lower its handheld sales forecasts for the remainder of the year.
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan president Hiroshi Kawano spoke highly of the Vita’s chances back in May, citing a “mountain” of anticipated games and a new white Vita system coming in June. When 4Gamer.net asked him about that this month, Kawano said Vita “got an unusually strong response in June.”
These are dark days for the electronics industry in Japan. Sony Corp. is working to regain its mojo and profitability after four straight years in the red, while Sharp, which once ruled Japan’s television market, is now facing a cash crunch that has raised questions about its long-term future.
The opportunities to script a comeback also appear grim. Smartphones are dominated by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., the tablet market is ruled by Apple, and the television sector is a dog-fight that leaves nearly everyone awash in losses. So where can Japan Inc. turn to for a hope for brighter days?
Sony today announced that it is developing a new type of high definition wearable video camera which answers the demand for premium point-of-view and action sports filming devices. The new video camera will feature Sony’s hallmark SteadyShot image stabilization technology, found in its portfolio of digital imaging products, to reduce blur and deliver stunningly smooth footage. The video camera’s small, lightweight body will also house an Exmor R CMOS image sensor for excellent low light shooting and an ultra-wide angle Carl Zeiss Tessar lens.
Additionally, Sony will offer a suite of mounting attachments, including waterproof and ruggedized housings. By combining this technology with more features on the way, Sony aims to deliver a versatile, easy-to-use video camera capable of capturing full HD quality video in extreme environments. Sony plans to bring the new point-of-view video camera to market in fall 2012.
Japan’s cash-bleeding electronics giants Sony and Panasonic are looking to join forces to produce next generation televisions in a bid to claw back market from South Korean rivals, a report said Tuesday.
The firms want to speed up the development of large-screen organic electroluminescence (OEL) televisions, which consume less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat panels, the Nikkei daily said.
OEL is widely expected to be the dominant technology in the next generation of televisions.
In another example of Japan getting all the neat stuff first, Sony details a beefy DVR and media storage hub that is compatible with its PlayStation, Vaio, Tablet, and Xperia lines.
The new Sony Nasne tuner and media device, due in Japan on July 19 for 16,980 yen $209, sort of looks like a miniature PlayStation 3. However, dont let the aesthetics fool you: Nasne contains many features the game console lacks, such as a built-in 500GB hard drive for recording content from digital terrestrial or satellite TV broadcasts.
The rear of Nasne.Credit: Sony Computer EntertainmentPerhaps the biggest draw at least to Sony aficionados resides in the ability to simultaneously watch live or recorded TV content from Nasne on up to two Sony products within the same home network.
Japan’s Sony Corp flagged a record $6.4 billion annual net loss, double an earlier forecast and a fourth straight year of red ink, as it writes off deferred tax credits, heaping more pressure on its new CEO to turn around the electronics giant.
Sony, which plans to axe 10,000 jobs – around 6 percent of its global workforce – according to media reports this week, has been hammered by weak demand for its televisions and overtaken by more innovative gadget rivals such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.
Yet, in a bid to ease investor concerns over its deteriorating bottom line, Sony forecast it would bounce back in the current year to end-March 2013 with an operating profit of 180 billion yen ($2.2 billion).
There have been a lot of doomsday stories recently predicting the end of Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation (PS) Vita since its weak launch before Christmas 2011 in Japan. Although the portable gaming device only sold 392,000 units in its first two weeks at retail in Japan, Wedbush Morgan Securities videogame analyst Michael Pachter believes the device is still on track.
Many gaming sites have predicted a price cut for the device in Japan, as well as a pre-launch price cut for PS Vita before its U.S. debut February 22, 2012. CNet even predicted Sony would cancel the U.S. launch completely. Of course, these types of stories are great for generating traffic, but far from the reality of a giant game publisher with shareholders to answer to and multi-million dollar marketing budgets committed to introduce new hardware to the gaming audience.
“There’s no chance for a price cut,” said Pachter. “The price points for software are what I expected, and highlight the disparity between casual smartphone games and premium console-quality handheld games.”