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Sony Sells US Headquarters

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - The building at 550 Madison Avenue will still say Sony (SNE - Get Report) at the top. And it will still house the company's New York outpost. But, it won't be owned by Sony for much longer.

Sony has agreed to sell its U.S. headquarters to a consortium of buyers for € 685 million ($1.1 billion). The buyers are led by The Chetrit Group - a Manhattan-based owner of commercial properties in New York and other major U.S. markets.

The idea's simple. Sony sells the building for a nice profit then rents back the office space. It's similar to what Nokia (NOK - Get Report) recently did with its headquarters building in Finland. Sony expects to pull $770 million in net cash out of the deal, of which $685 million, will go down as operating income which should help them attain a profitable third quarter, later this year.

While, in London, Google (GOOG) has reportedly spent nearly the same amount, 650 million UK pounds ($1.04 billion), on a plot of land for a new headquarters complex.

According to Reuters, the Internet giant plans to consolidate a number of separate office spaces into one new building in the Kings Cross area of the city. It's interesting to note that Google just completed a major renovation of its current London office space in Mayfair.

Construction of Google's new complex is expected to begin later this year and is projected to cost 1 billion UK pounds ($1.6 billion). The Mountain, View, Calif.-based firm hopes to move its UK operations there by 2016.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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