Panasonic sells Tesla Stake for $3.6 billion

Panasonic lost its status as Tesla’s exclusive battery supplier, but has been able to turn around the U.S. joint battery business as demand for Tesla’s electric cars soar.
Panasonic, Tesla’s largest battery supplier, sold its stake for about 400 billion yen ($3.61 billion) in the year ended March, a spokesperson for the consumer electronics giant said on Friday. It will use the proceeds in part to finance the recent acquisition of software company Blue Yonder.
Tesla has struck deals with South Korea’s LG and China’s CATL, with Reuters reporting that the latter is planning a plant in Shanghai near the automaker’s production base. Panasonic is Tesla’s oldest battery supplier and the two have invested billions of dollars in a battery factory in Nevada. The relationship has been dispute 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. Panasonic’s action will not affect the partnership with Tesla, the spokesperson said. The sale comes as the automaker seeks news partners to make batteries. Shares of Panasonic rose as much as 4.8% in Tokyo on Friday. Tesla closed 3.5% higher in the U.S. on Thursday. Its Nasdaq-traded stock touched a high in January of $883.09.

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