Panasonic to acquire Blue Yonder for $6.5 billion

This will be the organisation’s biggest acquisition since 2011

Panasonic advertisement and logo against blue sky in China Town, Bangkok

Panasonic is aiming to acquire US supply chain software firm Blue Yonder for $6.45 billion (around 700 billion yen). 

The move, as reported by Nikkei, will be Panasonic’s biggest acquisition since 2011 when it spent $7.36 billion (800 billion yen) on Sanyo Electric and Panasonic Electric Works to make them wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Blue Yonder utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to predict product demand and delivery dates and its customers include Unilever and Starbucks. In the UK, it has helped Morrisons to increase same-store sales by 2.6% and improved on-shelf availability by up to 30% while reducing store inventory by 2-3 days.

Panasonic bought a 20% stake in Blue Yonder for around $791 million (86 billion yen) last year and gained a seat on its board as a result of this investment. It is currently owned by two other shareholders, Blackstone Group and New Mountain Capital.

According to the publication, the negotiations are in their final stages but added there is still a chance the two sides will not reach an agreement.

A spokesperson from Panasonic told IT Pro: "The matter regarding a reported acquisition of Blue Yonder is not something that was announced by Panasonic. There has been no decision regarding this matter."

This acquisition would strengthen Panasonic’s supply chain management services and comes notably during the COVID-19 pandemic where companies have had to cope with major disruption.

Many organisations have been looking at automation during the pandemic with a report finding that it has also sped up digital transformation efforts across many companies.

The report detailed that global IT leaders listed a number of technologies essential in 2021 including cloud computing (67%), 5G (51%), AI (43%), and integration (43%). 

The use of AI in supply chains is becoming popular among companies, with IBM unveiling last year it had developed an AI-powered inventory control system for supply chains called the IBM Sterling Inventory Control Tower.

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