NEW YORK, NOV. 18 -- CBS Inc. said tonight that it has agreed to sell its records operations to Sony Corp. for about $2 billion.

The deal, which had been rumored since the summer, is expected to close early next year after receiving approval from federal agencies, a CBS spokeswoman said.

The CBS directors had been meeting in a special session this afternoon to consider the sale.

On Sept. 11, CBS confirmed a long-circulated rumor that it and Sony were in serious talks that could lead to the records division being purchased by the Japanese electronics giant.

On Oct. 14, after a CBS directors meeting, the company said its board also was looking at the option of spinning off the records unit.

The spokeswoman quoted CBS President Lawrence A. Tisch as saying, "After long discussion and very careful review, our board concluded that this is a very attractive offer in terms of value to the shareholders while it also provides an important source of capital and allows us to focus all of our energies and resources on our core business of broadcasting."

The price of CBS stock, which traded as low as $164.62 1/2 during the day, finished at $176 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, up $8.62 1/2 from Tuesday's close.

Sony also rose, climbing $2.75 a share to $35.62 1/2.