Sony Said to Move Phone Unit From Headquarters to Save Rent

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Sony Corp. is moving its mobile-phone operations out of its Tokyo headquarters to save on rent, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg.

Sony Mobile Communications Inc. and So-net Corp., an Internet service provider, will share the new offices to reduce rent costs by 30 percent, Hiroki Totoki, who oversees the two businesses, said in an e-mail to employees Tuesday. The move also will improve communications between the two companies, according to the e-mail obtained Wednesday.

The relocation is a sign of changing times at Sony, which has shifted away from consumer electronics to game consoles, entertainment and sensors for smartphone cameras. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai has said the smartphone business, responsible for a $1.5 billion writedown last fiscal year, must make money or face a spinoff.

Masahito Takeda, a spokesman for Sony Mobile, declined to comment on the memo.

Sony trimmed its smartphone lineup and said it will release only one marquee model a year. The company on Wednesday raised its profit forecast for the year ended March, saying operating income more than doubled to 68 billion yen ($569 million). Shares rose Thursday.

Sony’s Xperia operations are moving to Shinagawa Seaside TS Tower by April 2016, the e-mail said. That’s a 30-minute walk from the headquarters, which is located near Shinagawa train station, a major transportation hub.

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