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Electronics firm takeover in danger

Goldman ends talks with Panasonic on Sanyo stock. Price, deal structure cited.

Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo, left, and Sanyo Electric President Seiichiro Sano had hoped to create one company.

AP photo

TOKYO — Panasonic’s efforts to acquire rival Sanyo and create one of the world’s largest electronics companies might be in trouble Wednesday after Goldman Sachs ended its talks with Panasonic about selling its stake in Sanyo.

“We have walked away from the deal because of concerns over the price and deal structure,” said Miyako Takebe, a spokeswoman at Goldman, which owns preferred shares that can be converted to 29 percent of outstanding shares.

Goldman, Daiwa Securities SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. together control about 70 percent of Sanyo’s shares, Panasonic was widely reported to be offering 120 yen per share for Sanyo, whose shares fell 3.9 percent to 150 yen Wednesday. That puts Panasonic’s offer at 20 percent below market price, which Daiwa spokesman Ryoji Fuchinoue also called too low.

“We don’t think 120 yen is a fair valuation of the company ... but that does not mean we are ending negotiations,” he said.

The rejection by Goldman, which escaped relatively unscathed from the subprime crisis, shows that not all companies are desperate to sell assets. Last week, U.S. automaker Ford said it would sell the majority of its stake in Japan’s Mazda for a quarter of what it could have gotten a year ago.

Earlier this month, the presidents of Panasonic and Sanyo held a joint press conference and said they were starting talks on a buyout deal they hoped to complete by year end. Panasonic has said it wants to turn Sanyo into a group company by acquiring from 50 percent to all of its shares.

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