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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Can't sell the TV?...sell the office: Japan Inc fires up property market, (NYSE: CBG)

Japanese blue-chip firms, from electronics giants to brewers, are selling prime real estate to shore up battered balance sheets, stoking a resurgent property market. Some are moving into new offices to take advantage of relatively low rents. Big downtown office buildings are coming up for sale as Tokyo's property market regains growth momentum for the first time in almost five years, with plenty of interest among buyers, particularly Japan's public real estate trusts, experts said."Market sentiment is more positive now than at any time since the Lehman crisis," said Andy Hurfurt, executive director at the Japanese unit of CBRE Group Inc, a global real estate services company. "This reflects a widely held view that the market has bottomed and will move to an upside cycle."Looking to cash in on that market recovery, Sony Corp said on Thursday it sold its 25-floor Sony City Osaki building near its central Tokyo headquarters for 111 billion yen ($1.12 billion) - the biggest deal of its kind in four years. The company that gave the world the Trinitron TV and Walkman music player is shedding non-core assets - it has also offloaded its New York headquarters - as it seeks to halt a slump in its TV fortunes from competition from Samsung Electronics Co and others.Osaka-based rival Panasonic Corp is also selling a central Tokyo office it uses as its headquarters in the capital, sources said, and has promised investors it will generate 130 billion yen from asset sales to underpin cash flow. Sharp Corp has sold a 9-storey building in Tokyo and is looking to sell more in the city, a spokeswoman said.

CBRE Group, Inc., formerly CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc is a holding company that conducts all of its operations through its indirect subsidiaries. Shares of CBG traded higher by 1.21% or $0.29/share to $24.18. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $14.97 and as high as $24.86. On average, 2815890 shares of CBG exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 2812464.