Goldman Sachs to Sell $1.4 Billion Stake in Sanyo to Panasonic

Part of Panasonic's takeover of Sanyo

Goldman Sachs said on Sept. 18 that it had agreed to sell a 15.7% stake in troubled Sanyo Electric to Panasonic Corp. for about 126 billion yen (US$1.4 billion).

Goldman said its Oceans Holdings Co. investment fund had signed an agreement to sell slightly more than half of its shares in Sanyo for 131 yen each as part of Panasonic's takeover of the struggling electronics maker. It will retain a stake of 13.3% which it "may sell in the near future," Goldman spokeswoman Hiroko Matsumoto said.

Panasonic announced in December that it had struck a deal to acquire a 70.5% stake in Sanyo for up to 800 billion yen, buying shares from Goldman as well as Japan's Daiwa Securities and Sumitomo Mitsui.

Panasonic had aimed to announce the launch of the tender offer by late February but it has been delayed due to regulatory issues.

Sanyo, which started out making bicycle lamps after World War II, issued several billion dollars' worth of stock to the clutch of financial heavyweights in 2006 to shore up its capital base.

It reported a net loss of 18.4 billion yen for the April-June quarter due to a slump in the electronic component business.

Recently Sanyo has tried to focus on environmental technologies -- areas coveted by Panasonic, which is cutting 15,000 jobs and closing dozens of plants as it struggles to recover from its first annual loss for six years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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