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This is a developing story and FreightWaves will continue to update this file.
Artificial intelligence-driven digital fulfillment provider Blue Yonder is expected to be acquired by Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY), according to a report by Nikkei Asia. The Japanese manufacturing company is expected to pay $6.5 billion in its biggest acquisition in a decade.
Panasonic acquired a 20% stake in Blue Yonder in 2020 for approximately $790 million. Reuters reports that Panasonic will acquire the rest of the stock from shareholders such as the Blackstone Group Inc.
The Nikkei report said multiple sources have confirmed that "the negotiations are in the final stage," but that there is "a chance the two sides will not reach an agreement."
"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.
It added that Panasonic is seeking to expand its hardware and combine "software, sensors and other devices" to improve operational efficiencies.
Blue Yonder focuses on supply chain management, with its Luminate Platform providing machine-learning-driven task management capabilities that enable a high level of warehouse operational efficiency.
When Panasonic acquired the 20% stake last year, it expanded a partnership that had originated with a joint venture in Japan in 2019 when Blue Yonder was named JDA Software. It also provided Panasonic with one seat on the board of directors of Blue Yonder.
A press release issued on May 20, 2020, stated that the two companies would "combine resources and work closely with partner companies in Japan to fuel growth by selling Blue Younder's Luminate solutions."
"I believe this investment is a vital step for the business transformation that Panasonic's Connected Solutions Company is undertaking. Until now, the Connected Solutions Company has taken the lead in promoting corporate culture and workstyle reforms, and with this investment we are now delving into transforming our actual business model. Specifically, we will be adding the provision of software, consulting, and services to our traditional business model of selling hardware," Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said in the release.
"I am excited about this collaboration to realize our joint vision for digital supply chain — where Blue Yonder's platform synchronizes with Panasonic's edge offerings to deliver more autonomous, successful business outcomes for retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers," added Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi. "We look forward to working within our joint venture in Japan to deliver tremendous customer value."
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