Panasonic to buy U.S. software firm Blue Yonder for $7.1 bln

Panasonic Corp (6752.T) announced on Friday that it would pay $7.1 billion for Blue Yonder, a U.S. supply-chain software firm, to meet rising demand from businesses as the COVID pandemic tests their resistance to disruption.

Panasonic, which purchased a 20% stake in Blue Yonder for 86 billion yen ($797 million) last year, will buy the remaining stock from shareholders such as Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) and New Mountain Capital in a deal valued at $8.5 billion, including debt, according to a press release.

“The need for more intelligent, autonomous and edge-aware supply chains has been dramatically heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Panasonic said.

Panasonic plans to pay for half of the acquisition with cash and the rest with a bridge loan that will be refinanced with subordinated bonds and other hybrid financing, according to the company.

Panasonic, which is best known for consumer electronics and appliances, has shifted its focus in recent years to manufacturing components and providing services to other companies, such as batteries for Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) electric cars.

In May, the Japanese firm strengthened its relationship with Blue Yonder by winning a seat on the company’s board of directors after acquiring a minority stake. Machine learning is used by the American firm to assist businesses in managing supply chains that link factories to warehouses and retailers.

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Ogbonna Ugorji

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