Panasonic sells its entire stake in Tesla

Panasonic Corp has sold the entirety of its stake in Tesla for around 400 billion yen ($3.6 billion).

Panasonic disclosed in a filing that it held some $730 million of Tesla shares as of March last year and that stake had been reduced to zero by the end of this March, Panasonic disclosed in a filing Friday.

Tesla’s stock appreciated more than fivefold over the 12-month period.

Panasonic’s spokeswoman, Yayoi Watanabe, said that the sale was part of a review of Panasonic’s cross-shareholdings policy in accordance with corporate governance code guidelines.

She claimed the sale won’t impact upon the company’s relationship or partnership with Tesla, adding that Panasonic had informed Tesla about the transaction.

Proceeds will be used for investing in future growth, she said.

The Nikkei reported the news earlier, saying Panasonic will use the proceeds to help pay for its $7 billion acquisition of artificial intelligence software developer Blue Yonder.

Panasonic, under new President and Chief Executive Officer Yuki Kusumi, has embarked on a two-year mission to churn out more batteries for Tesla and shake free billions of dollars to invest in new areas of growth by making the company more efficient.

Tesla counts Panasonic as its longest-standing battery supplier and the two have invested billions of dollars in a battery factory in Nevada.

The relationship has been contentious at points, with Panasonic facing frequent — and at times public — prods from Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk to boost battery production.

Panasonic also has a battery partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. The global market for EV batteries is projected to reach $35.4 billion in 2023.

Shares of Panasonic rose as much as 4.8% in Tokyo on Friday. Tesla, whose stock climbed 743% in 2020, closed 3.5% higher in the U.S. on Thursday.

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