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Panasonic rumored to buy majority Sanyo stake

updated 03:55 pm EST, Mon November 3, 2008

Panasonic to buy Sanyo?

A weekend report reveals a Japanese newspaper and news agency are reporting electronics maker Panasonic may buy majority stake in Sanyo Electric before 2009. While the news is unofficial, Sanyo has made a statement saying it is considering options of selling its preferred stock shares but is yet to make a decision. Panasonic's press release, meanwhile, simply reads the company has not made such an announcement, but nothing was yet decided in regards to the rumored purchase, confirming the two companies are in talks.

This year's fall in stock prices would mean Panasonic would buy Sanyo shares for a third less than they cost as early back as July. If the deal goes through, it would let Panasonic add Sanyo's extensive battery business to its own, along with giving the giant access to Sanyo's solar panel business and enter that industry. Panasonic would need to deal with Sanyo's majority shareholders Goldman Sachs, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Daiwa Securities SMBC, which made a saving 300 billion yen ($3 billion) investment in Sanyo back in 2006.

The rumors regarding the sale were reported by Japan's biggest business daily, the Nikkei, along with the Kyodo News agency.

Struggling Sanyo was rescued in 2006 with by Goldman Sachs, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Daiwa Securities SMBC, which received preferred shares making them the company's biggest shareholders. This September, Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway invested more than $5 billion in Goldman Sachs to ease creditor's worries, while Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. cut its profit forecast for the current fiscal year by 63 percent. Both hint that the two companies could be willing to sell their Sanyo shares.

by MacNN Staff



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