Bloomberg reports Sony Corp. of America is staying based in the building for three years while it looks to lease new headquarters in the Manhattan area.
There was speculation last summer Sony would sell its 37-story Madison Ave. skyscraper to another real estate firm, with the building's value then estimated between $700 million to $1 billion, suggesting a sale's been on the PlayStation manufacturer's radar for a while.
"Given the opportunities and challenges in the current economic and real estate landscape, selling 550 Madison now is a timely and logical strategic move," said Sony Corp. of America president Nicole Seligman in a statement given to Bloomberg.
The sale represents another major shift for the company, following four successive years of losses, including last fiscal year's operating loss of $820 million, and the embarrassment of its credit rating being cut to junk status by Fitch Ratings. In April 2012, Sony announced it projected 10,000 job losses within the fiscal year, including 2000 in Japan via an 'early retirement' scheme, and many affecting its games-based divisions such as with the closure of Wipeout developer Sony Liverpool last summer.
Those cost-cutting and cash-creating measures are taking Sony to a projected $223 million profit for this fiscal year, a figure the company is re-evaluating in light of today's news. The sale also saw the company's shares soar by 12.2 percent to ¥1,149 at the close of trading in Tokyo today, the biggest gain for the company in over four years.