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Samsung to sell former Japanese headquarters

Samsung prepares to make a final exit from the Roppongi T-Cube building.

SEOUL -- South Korea's Samsung Electronics will sell its interest in Roppongi T-Cube, the building that once housed its Japanese headquarters, to Mitsui Fudosan as early as fiscal 2015 in a deal expected to be in the tens of billions of yen.

     The South Korean company already has relocated its offices to Tokyo's Iidabashi district. By letting go of the building, which has symbolized its presence since being completed in 2003, Samsung can focus on rebuilding its struggling smartphone business in Japan.

     Roppongi T-Cube was built by Mitsui Fudosan and Samsung at a cost of around 44 billion yen ($370 million at current exchange rates), with Samsung owning a 57% interest. The two companies expect to formalize an agreement on the sale soon.

     The Japanese real estate company agreed to buy out Samsung because it expects office demand there to remain solid thanks to its convenient location above a subway station.

     Samsung's Japanese subsidiaries are primarily divided in three. Samsung Electronics Japan, which handles smartphones and base station equipment for telecommunications companies, had been located in Roppongi. The relocation brought all three units into the same office space, a move intended to make operations more efficient.

     Roppongi T-Cube's insufficient in-house generating capacity for use during power outages also was cited as a reason for the relocation.

     Samsung was already a global company when the building was finished but it didn't enjoy the level of name recognition in Japan as it does now. Roppongi T-Cube along with hit smartphones contributed to the rise of its brand strength in Japan, but Samsung decided there was no need to hang onto an asset it wasn't using itself.

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