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Panasonic completes bid for half of Sanyo

Japan's Panasonic Corp said on Thursday it acquired 50.2% of Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, the world's largest rechargeable battery maker, completing a long-delayed ¥403.8 billion($4.6 billion) deal.

The transaction had been widely expected to hand Panasonic a majority stake as Sanyo's top three shareholders agreed to sell part of their shareholdings into the tender for a premium to ensure that Panasonic obtained more than half of Sanyo.

Panasonic paid ¥131 for each common share, handing a hefty profit to Goldman Sachs, Daiwa Securities SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, which bought preferred shares priced at ¥700 and convertible to 10 common shares each in 2006.

Daiwa Securities SMBC is a joint venture between Daiwa Securities Group Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), while Sumitomo Mitsui Banking is Sanyo's main bank and part of SMFG.

Customers for Sanyo's hybrid car batteries include Honda Motor Co Ltd, Ford Motor Co and PSA Peugeot Citroen, while Panasonic runs a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp to develop and make hybrid and electric car batteries.

Sanyo is also a major manufacturer of solar cells and Panasonic offers fuel cells, enabling the new Panasonic group to offer a wider lineup of energy-producing and energy-storage alternatives to petroleum.

The takeover, delayed by slow regulatory approval, makes Panasonic, which was sitting on cash and cash equivalent of ¥1.46 trillion as of September 30, a dominant player in the fast-growing market for hybrid car batteries.

Prior to the announcement, shares in Sanyo closed up 10.7% at ¥176, in the biggest single-day jump in 6 months, following the closure of the deal the previous day.

Panasonic, maker of Viera flat TVs and Lumix digital cameras, fell 1.9% to ¥1,226. The benchmark Nikkei average lost 1.4%. (Reuters)