Panasonic will buy US supply-chain software firm Blue Yonder for JPY700bn ($6.45bn), in the Japanese electronics firm's biggest acquisition since 2011, Reuters reported, citing the Nikkei.
Panasonic, which bought a 20% stake in Blue Yonder for JPY86b last year, is in the final stages of acquiring the rest of the stock from shareholders including Blackstone Group, the Nikkei said in an unsourced report.
"This is not something that has been announced by our company. It is not true that it is something we have decided," Panasonic said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
The report said an acquisition would bolster Panasonic's supply chain management services as the COVID-19 pandemic focuses the attention of companies on their resilience to disruption.
Once best known for consumer electronics and appliances, Panasonic in recent years has focused more on building parts and supplying services to other businesses, such as batteries for Tesla EVs, Reuters noted.
Any deal to acquire all of Blue Yonder would be Panasonic's largest since it spent JPY800bn to make Sanyo Electric and Panasonic Electric Works wholly owned subsidiaries in 2011, the Nikkei said.
The acquisition money is likely to come from Panasonic's own funds, although loans or other financing may also be considered for the purchase, the reports said.
Reuters noted Panasonic deepened its partnership with Blue Yonder in May, gaining a seat on its board after acquiring a minority stake. The US company uses machine learning to help companies manage supply chains that connect factories to warehouses and retailers.
Blue Yonder customers include Walmart, Starbucks and Unilever, Reuters noted.