TOKYO Nov 1 Japanese electronics maker Panasonic
Corp (6752.T) plans to begin talks to take control of smaller
rival Sanyo Electric Co 6764.T, the Nikkei business daily
reported on Saturday.
Panasonic plans to start negotiations with three major Sanyo
shareholders -- Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Daiwa Securities SMBC and
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp -- as early as this month and could
reach a basic agreement this year, the newspaper said.
A Panasonic spokesman said nothing has been decided on the
reported matter, but declined to comment on whether the company
is planning to start talks with the three Sanyo shareholders.
A Sanyo spokesman said he was not in a position to comment
since the reported negotiations were between Panasonic and
Sanyo's main shareholders.
Sanyo is the world's top maker of lithium-ion batteries used
in personal computers and mobile phones and a strong player in
the solar cell business. Acquiring Sanyo would allow Panasonic to
bolster its battery operations and gain a foothold into the
promising solar market, the Nikkei said.
Sanyo issued 300 billion yen ($3.05 billion) in preferred
shares to the three companies in 2006 to help it restructure
after it suffered a sharp downturn in earnings, hit by fierce
competition and earthquake damage to a key microchip plant.
The three major shareholders combined hold nearly 430 million
preferred shares in Sanyo, the Nikkei said.
Sanyo's shared closed Friday at 145 yen, giving the company a
market value of about 271 billion yen, not including the value of
the preferred shares.
Each preferred share can be exchanged for 10 common shares,
valuing them at roughly 620 billion yen based on Friday's closing
price for the common shares, the Nikkei said.
If all the preferred shares were converted to common stock,
it would give the three shareholders a stake of about 70 percent
Daiwa Securities SMBC is a joint venture between Daiwa
Securities Group (8601.T) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
(SMFG) (8316.T), while Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp is Sanyo's
main bank and an SMFG unit.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by