Panasonic negotiates to acquire SANYO to form US$ 110 billion group

SANYO suffered from Niigata Chuetsu earthquake of Oct. 23, 2004

Panasonic attracted to SANYO’s battery and energy technologies

On November 7, 2008 Panasonic (“Ideas for Life”) and Sanyo (slogan: “Think GAIA”) announced that they entered negotiations which can potentially lead to an acquisition of Sanyo by Panasonic to form one of the largest electronics groups in the world. Sanyo’s market capitalization is currently US$ 3.9 billion and Panasonic’s is US$ 38 billion, combined sales are about US$ 110 Billion.

The Niigata Chuetsu earthquake of Oct. 23, 2004 caused an estimated total of US$ 30 Billion in damages, damaged Sanyo’s semiconductor factory and contributed to large losses at Sanyo. As a consequence Daiwa Securities SMBC Co, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Goldman Sachs hold preferential shares in Sanyo with voting rights corresponding to 70% of outstanding shares. The current global financial crisis contributes to the potential acquisition, since Daiwa, Sumitomo-Mitsui and especially Goldman Sachs are motivated to sell their preferred shares when contractually possible, and it is also these three financial institutions which will have strong influence on whether this transaction will take place. Goldman Sachs is reported to have said that the price will decide.

Annual revenues of Japan’s electrical groups:

Panasonic and Sanyo combined (red curve in the figure below) will be one of the largest electrical groups globally. Note that Japan’s electrical groups showed strong growth from FY 2003.

Revenues of Japan's top electronics manufacturers
Revenues of Japan’s top electronics manufacturers

Annual operating margins of Japan’s electrical groups:

Panasonic’s high operating margins helped Panasonic to reach a position of financial strength, enabling this acquisition. Expect more acquisitions by Japanese electrical companies.

Electrical differentiation:

High margin (> 5%) vs low margin (The figure below shows that there is a clear differentiation of Japan’s electrical groups: Mitsubishi Electric, Sharp and Panasonic have high margins – above 5%.

The other electrical groups (Fujitsu, Toshiba, Sanyo, Hitachi, Sony and NEC) have chosen a low-margin path (margins below 4%).

There is a clear gap (4% to 5%) separating these two fields. Panasonic’s margin will suffer with a Sanyo acquisition – expect Panasonic management to bring Sanyo up to Panasonic margins.

Operating margins of Japan's top electronics manufacturers
Operating margins of Japan’s top electronics manufacturers

Globalization of Japan’s electronics groups:

With 36.8% of sales outside Japan, Sanyo is more globalized than Panasonic. NEC, Fujitsu and Mitsubishi Electrical still have much way to go to globalize.

Globalization ratios of Japan's top electronics manufacturers
Globalization ratios of Japan’s top electronics manufacturers

Read more in our report: “Japan’s electrical companies”

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