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Japan's TV giants Panasonic, Sony and Sharp to hawk $3b worth of assets

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is hoping to raise money by selling properties from its vast portfolio, as the company struggles to compete against rival Samsung.

According to Reuters, Panasonic will sell its buildings and other assets, as will troubled Japanese electronics firms Sony and Sharp. The move has been dubbed a giant "garage sale" that could see the companies raise a combined $3 billion (£1.8 billion).

Panasonic currently owns more than 10 million square meters of office and factory space, which also includes dormitories for its workers and sports facilities for its rugby, baseball and women's athletics teams. The portfolio includes a 24-storey central Tokyo block built in 2003 spanning more than 47,300 square meters and housing 2,000 Panasonic workers.

The cash-strapped company is hoping to raise $1.34 billion (£836 million) from offloading property and shares in other Japanese companies by March 2013, the firm's chief financial officer Hideaki Kawai told Reuters.

"We have a lot of land and buildings in Japan and overseas," he said in an interview at the company's head office in Osaka.

The news is the latest measure to be implemented by Panasonic after it emerged it is expected to report an annual loss of £6 billion. The firm is currently in the middle of a hefty restructuring process which has seen it shed 36,000 jobs throughout the company.

Earlier this month, Panasonic and Sony both had their debt ratings downgraded to "junk" status by credit-rating agency Fitch. Meanwhile, Sharp recently signed a deal with US chip manufacturer Qualcomm, which agreed to invest $120 million ($74 million) in the company to develop new power-saving displays based on Sharp's existing technology. The deal is thought to be critical for the survival of the company, which last month reported a quarterly loss of $3.12 billion (£1.94 billion).