Panasonic has sold its entire stake in Tesla for $ 3.6 billion to raise funds for an acquisition, according to Nikkei and the Financial Time. At the same time, Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi said Bloomberg that the company plans to make a “big investment” in producing Tesla’s new 4680 lithium-ion battery cells if a prototype production line is up and running.
Panasonic pointed out that the sale of shares was about “corporate governance” and had nothing to do with its relationship with Tesla. “The aim is to review stocks strategically held in accordance with corporate governance guidelines,” he told the Financial Time in a report. “This does not affect the partnership with Tesla and we continue to have a good relationship.”
Either way, investing was certainly a wise business decision. Panasonic bought 1.4 million Tesla shares at $ 21.15 in 2010 for around $ 30 million, as Engadget reported at the time. As of March 2020, she had a stake worth 80.9 billion yen ($ 731 million) and ultimately brought in around 400 billion yen ($ 3.6 billion) at the end of March 2021 (l Tesla’s stock has increased six-fold during this period). The proceeds from the sale will help Panasonic pay for its $ 7 billion acquisition of U.S. AI supply chain specialist Blue Yonder.
Panasonic was Tesla’s only battery source, but Tesla recently started develop its own batteries and work with other vendors including LG Chem and Chinese CATL. At the same time, Panasonic recently stated that it reduce dependency on Tesla and supply batteries to other global automakers.
Still, Panasonic plans to remain an important part of Tesla’s future. The company is setting up a prototype production line for Tesla’s new 4680 lithium-ion cells revealed on its “Battery dayCEO Elon Musk hopes this will allow for cheaper batteries that will make a $ 25,000 electric car possible within three years. If its prototype production line works well, Panasonic will make a “big investment” to produce them. for Tesla and other automakers.