Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Goldman to sell US$1.4bn Sanyo stake to Panasonic

BLOOMBERG , TOKYO

Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to sell a ¥126.7 billion (US$1.4 billion) holding in Sanyo Electric Co to Panasonic Corp, reaping ¥59 billion in investment gains.

Goldman will sell 96,681,355 preferred shares convertible into common stock, the New York-based company said in a statement yesterday. That’s 54 percent of the bank’s holdings in Sanyo.

Goldman agreed last December to sell the preferred stock at ¥1,310 each, or ¥131 per common stock, or 87 percent higher than the purchase price.

Goldman, which converted the remaining stake into 818.9 million common shares, might sell its remaining holdings after evaluating investments, market conditions and other factors, the statement said.

Sanyo shares have gained 74 percent since Dec. 19, when Panasonic said it would fork out as much as ¥806.7 billion to purchase the Osaka-based company, in what would be Japan’s biggest consumer-electronics acquisition.

The planned purchase would give Panasonic access to Sanyo’s solar-cell technology and make it the world’s largest maker of rechargeable batteries used in mobile phones and laptops.

Goldman won’t likely sell the stake at once in the market because “it may cause Sanyo shares to plunge,” Koya Tabata, a Tokyo-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, said by telephone.

“Goldman’s aim is probably gaining a voting right,” he said.

Goldman Sachs, Daiwa Securities Group Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, which bailed out Sanyo in 2006, said last December they were considering Panasonic’s offer “positively.”

Daiwa agreed to sell 86 percent of its stake in Sanyo to Panasonic, Panasonic said in June.

Sumitomo Mitsui has agreed to sell 80 percent of its Sanyo preferred shares, that statement said.

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