Panasonic has acquired a 50.19% stake in rival Sanyo Electric for JPY403.78bn, completing a tender offer that would create one of the world's largest consumer electronics conglomerates with a strong grip on solar and battery markets.

The two companies eventually secured approval from most competition policy watchdogs after Panasonic decided to reduce its stake in the 'PEVE' car battery joint venture with Toyota Motor and after Sanyo agreed to sell parts of its rechargeable battery business to FDK, a Fujitsu unit.

The smaller Osaka-based manufacturer is now set to officially become Panasonic's subsidiary by mid-December when the transaction is expected to be completed, Kyodo News reported. But questions remain regarding the overlapping operations of the two companies, especially in household appliances.

The merger will create Japan's second-largest electronics giant with projected combined sales of JPY8.66 trillion, trailing closely behind Hitachi's JPY8.7 trillion anticipated for the business year ending 31 March.

The buyout for JPY131 per share, launched from 5 November to last Wednesday, was widely expected to be successful since Panasonic had earlier clinched agreements to buy more than half of Sanyo's total outstanding shares from its three key shareholders including Goldman Sachs Group.

Panasonic, the world's top maker of plasma display televisions, is aiming to position itself better for global competition by using its ample funds to tap into Sanyo's top-ranking rechargeable battery and solar cell technologies. The company plans to invest around JPY100bn on environmental and energy-related businesses.

The conclusion of the buyout came after a more than six-month delay as antitrust questions arose over Panasonic's merger with the world's top supplier of lithium ion batteries, which are used in laptops, mobile phones and pure electric and hybrid vehicles.

Panasonic is expected to keep Sanyo's shares listed and preserve its brand, but analysts have predicted that Sanyo is likely to face further restructuring of personnel and eventually end its consumer electronics products that overlap with Panasonic.

Sanyo claims future li-ion customers, Panasonic busy with Ni-MH

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