Goldman Sachs agrees to Panasonic's Sanyo offer: report

Logo PanasonicGoldman Sachs and other major shareholders in Sanyo Electric Co. have agreed to sell all their holdings in the electronics company to Panasonic Corp., a report said Thursday.

Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo and senior officials from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. met in Tokyo on Wednesday, with the US firm agreeing to sell its Sanyo shares, the Japanese business daily Nikkei reported.

The two other major Sanyo shareholders -- Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. -- had already agreed to Panasonic's offer, it said, without citing sources.

The report comes after Panasonic said last month that it aimed to acquire Sanyo, which would create Japan's biggest electronics maker.

Under the agreed offer, Panasonic will buy Sanyo shares for 131 yen (1.49 dollars) each through a tender offer as early as February for an estimated total of more than 560 billion yen, the Nikkei said.

Goldman Sachs had rejected an initial offer of 120 yen as too low, and rejected again a sweetened offer from Panasonic for its 29 percent stake in Sanyo Electric Co.

The takeover of Sanyo would give Panasonic a bigger share of the fast-growing market for rechargeable and solar batteries.

Sanyo, which started out making bicycle lamps after World War II, issued several billion dollars worth of stock to Goldman Sachs, Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in 2006 to shore up its capital base.

Together they hold the equivalent of a 70 percent stake.

A takeover of Sanyo by Panasonic would mark the first major shake-up of Japan's consumer electronics industry in response to the current downturn triggered by the global financial crisis and a stronger yen.

Company officials were not immediately reached for a comment.

Tags: Panasonic

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