Report: Panasonic mulling acquisition of Sanyo

A Japanese paper reports that Panasonic will begin negotiating with Sanyo Electric's top shareholders with the aim of acquiring a majority stake in the company.

Panasonic will begin negotiating with Sanyo Electric's top-three shareholders as early as November with the aim of acquiring a majority stake in the electronics maker, The Nikkei business daily reported in its Saturday morning edition.

A basic deal is hoped for by the end of the year, said the report, which did not identify a source. The acquisition is being eyed as part of Panasonic's plan to expand its business around the world, the newspaper said.

Panasonic declined to confirm on the specifics of the newspaper article but through a spokesman said, "Nothing has been decided."

Sanyo has been struggling to turn around its business for the past few years. The company recorded its first profit in four years in its most recent fiscal year, ended in March 2008. Despite being battered by fierce competition in the home and consumer electronics markets, the company remains the world's biggest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and an innovator in green-energy products such as solar cells.

Acquisitions such as that reportedly planned by Panasonic are rare among major Japanese companies.

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Martyn Williams

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