Panasonic Discussing Takeover of ZKW to Push Further into Auto Electronics
The deal is said to be worth as much as $1 billion and both companies could come to an agreement within the month, said a business newspaper on Monday.
Panasonic would expand its automotive lineup with an acquisition of Europe based ZKW. Currently Panasonic centers its automotive lineup around navigation systems and batteries, as it attempts to shift focus to corporate clients as an attempt to escape the competition of pricing from consumer electronics makers who are lower margin.
Panasonic through an official statement said the possible deal was not something it announced and did not comment any further.
ZKW, based in Austria, did not comment when asked to. It employed over 5,900 employees at the end of 2015 and has plants in India, Slovakia, China, Mexico, the U.S., the Czech Republic and Austria.
ZKW is privately held and supplies lighting modules and light-emitting diode headlights to European and U.S. automakers like General Motors and BMW. This year its sales forecast is for $949.6 million or 900 million euros.
One source aware of the talks said that ZKW was amongst a number of deals that Japan-based Panasonic was considering. The person asked for anonymity regarding his comments due to the matter not being made public by the company.
He said that no deal has been reached yet and talks could fall through as well.
Panasonic earmarked more than 1 trillion yen or $8.80 billion for making strategic investments, which included acquisitions and mergers for the four-year period through March of 2019.
Of the original amount, 70% has already been allocated or completed for other deals, said one official in the company.
This possible new acquisition comes when rival makers of electronics are pushing into the growing automotive industry.
Korea based Samsung Electronics agreed last month to purchase Harman International in a deal worth $8 billion.
Panasonic has targeted yearly sales of over 2 trillion yen for the automotive business it has for its March 2019 year end, which is up from the 1.3 trillion yen for its most recent financial year that ended in March of 2016.
In 2015, Panasonic bought a stake of 49% in Ficosa International the automotive mirror maker based in Spain and hopes to contribute over $1.6 billion in the $5 billion battery plant of Tesla Motors in Nevada.
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