Car and Driver

November 4, 2008

Panasonic‘s designs on rival Sanyo could produce an $8.7 billion deal, and analysts in Japan seem to think creating a solar power and hybrid car-battery powerhouse is a good fit for a green future. Panasonic runs a car battery venture with Toyota, while Sanyo offers nickel-metal hydride batteries to Ford and Honda and develops lithium-ion batteries for cars with Volkswagen.
Unfortunately, the auto industry is a bit strapped right now. Both presidential candidates have vowed to make high-efficiency cars a big priority, so PanaSanyo must be thinking beyond automakers’ empty pockets. But so far, Detroit has had little luck impressing lawmakers with the need for taxpayer funding for the future of their industry, and one can only think that shipping dollars to Japan to buy batteries would be even less appealing in a recession.
Shares of Panasonic rose 6.8 percent on Tuesday, while Sanyo rose 34.5 percent to its daily limit, helping the Nikkei average to a rise of 6.3 percent. Panasonic says nothing has been decided on a Sanyo purchase, but the Nikkei business daily reported a deal could be announced by Friday.
If PanaSanyo wants to double-down its bet on the car market, it might also consider picking up XM Sirius – if nothing else, they can probably get it for a song.

Deals of the day:

* Want Want China, one of China’s biggest snack makers, said its chairman, Tsai Eng-meng, and family members had reached an agreement to buy Taiwan’s media firm China Times Group for an undisclosed sum.

* Tycoon Richard Li and China Netcom, the two largest shareholders of PCCW, have reached an agreement to buy out other shareholders of the city’s dominant fixed-line provider for up to $2.5 billion and take the company private, a newspaper reported.

* Japanese electronics conglomerate Fujitsu will buy Siemens 50 percent stake in their PC joint venture for 450 million euros ($567 million), aiming to boost its presence in Europe.

* Bezeq Israel Telecom, the country’s biggest telecommunications group, said it sold its satellite communications operations to RRsat Global Communications Network for $15 million.

* Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) declined comment on a newspaper report that Saudi Telecommunication was in talks with Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund to buy up to 60 percent of Batelco.

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