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Panasonic takes control of Sanyo

The acquisition of a 50.2 percent stake in Sanyo will provide Panasonic with Sanyo technologies including solar panels and rechargeable batteries.

A year after first revealing its interest in Sanyo, Panasonic has finally won control of its electronics rival.

Panasonic said Thursday that it has secured a 50.2 percent majority ownership of Sanyo, as it moves to turn Sanyo into a subsidiary and create one of the world's largest electronics makers. To win its slice of Sanyo, Panasonic is paying 403 billion yen ($4.59 billion), or 131 yen per Sanyo share.

The deal gives Panasonic control of such Sanyo products as rechargeable batteries and solar panels, potentially lucrative businesses in light of the world's desire for greener technology. Both firms already enjoy a huge market share selling fuel-efficient batteries to automakers, a segment that's likely to skyrocket with the growing popularity of hybrid cars.

Panasonic is buying more than 3 billion shares from Sanyo's top three investors--Goldman Sachs, Daiwa Securities SMBC, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. Collectively--which own a 70 percent slice of Sanyo, purchased in 2006 when Sanyo was forced to issue stock to raise extra cash.

Panasonic revealed its interest in Sanyo in December 2008, when the deal was first valued much higher than the final purchase price. Delayed by regulatory concerns, the takeover offer was finally initiated last month.

Both Panasonic and Sanyo have faced a tough market as the two have had to cut staff and trim expenses to make ends meet. Sanyo has been hit badly, most recently losing 37 billion yen in its April-September quarter.