The Federal Trade Commission today approved the $9 billion merger of Panasonic Corp. and Sanyo Electronic Co. - on one condition.
To satisfy the FTC's anti-competitive concerns, Sanyo must sell its portable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery business, including a manufacturing plant in Japan. The two companies are the world's largest makers of such batteries, which power products including two-way radios used by police and fire departments throughout the United States.
The battery business will be sold to FDK Corp., a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd., within 15 days of Panasonic’s acquisition of Sanyo. Included in the divestiture is the Sanyo plant in Takasaki, Japan, that produces about 30 percent of all NiMH batteries worldwide. The order also requires Sanyo to provide FDK with access to select Sanyo employees, and to transfer all licenses, patents, and other intellectual property related to its batteries to FDK.
“Our nation’s police and fire departments rely on portable nickel metal hydride batteries to power the two-way radios that they use every day as part of their public safety missions,” said Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in a Nov. 24 statement. “The consent order announced today protects consumers by preserving competition in the market for these critical batteries.”
The commission vote was 4–0.
Panasonic was represented by Ann Malester, a partner in the Washington office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Sanyo turned to Arman Oruc of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Washington.