Panasonic sells its entire stake in Tesla to raise cash


Panasonic Corp., which jointly owns a battery factory with Tesla Inc., sold the entirety of its stake in the electric vehicle maker.

The Japanese company held 80.9 billion yen ($729 million) of Tesla shares as of March last year and that stake had been reduced to zero by the end of this March, Panasonic disclosed in a filing Friday. The filing didn’t give any indication as to why Panasonic jettisoned its interest. Tesla’s stock appreciated more than fivefold over the 12-month period.

The Nikkei reported the news earlier, saying Panasonic will book several hundred billion yen in profit and will use the proceeds to help pay for its $7 billion acquisition of artificial intelligence software developer Blue Yonder.

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Panasonic is Tesla’s oldest battery supplier and the two have invested billions of dollars in a battery factory in Nevada. The relationship has been contentious at points, with Panasonic facing frequent — and at times public — prods from Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk to boost battery production. Panasonic also has a battery partnership with Toyota Motor Corp.

Shares of Panasonic rose as much as 4.8% in Tokyo on Friday. Tesla closed 3.5% higher in the U.S. on Thursday. Its Nasdaq-traded stock touched a high in January of $883.09.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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