Panasonic to acquire Blue Yonder to accelerate the autonomous supply chain

The acquisition of Blue Yonder by Panasonic follows the purchase of 20% of Blue Yonder’s shares in July 2020, with the remaining 80% being bought for $5.6 billion, bringing the total investment to $7.1 billion, including repayment of outstanding debt.

The deal, which is intended to close by the second half of this fiscal year (subject to receipt of regulatory approvals), values Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion, and sees agreement between Panasonic and existing shareholders New Mountain Capital, along with funds managed by Blackstone, being reached.

This acquisition builds on the strategic relationship between the two companies, which began in January 2019 and was followed by the creation of a joint venture company in Japan in November 2019.

Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi and the extended leadership team will join the new organisation, the Blue Yonder brand will be retained, and business will function within the Panasonic Connected Solutions Company umbrella.

The Panasonic Group will shift to a holding company system, under the name Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd. on the 1st April 2022, concentrating management resources on strategic businesses in key areas such as providing supply chain innovation and automation.

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Enhancing supply chain operations

As a result of the deal, Panasonic will look to combine artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities with the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge, to deliver new cloud capabilities and increase sustainability.

The combination of Panasonic’s industrial engineering, IoT and edge technologies with Blue Yonder’s AI and ML-driven supply chain and commerce solutions aims to increase the value of Blue Yonder’s digital fulfillment platform.

By unifying supply, demand and commerce solutions with IoT and edge technologies, companies can better utilise predictive business insights to pivot their operations in real-time.

The need for more intelligent, autonomous and edge-aware supply chains has been dramatically heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of e-commerce and the proliferation of data.

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“I’m extremely happy to welcome Blue Yonder and its associates to the Panasonic Group,” said Yuki Kusumi, CEO of Panasonic.

“Both companies have the same mission to support customers’ frontline operations, and we have a high affinity in our corporate cultures. By merging the two companies, we would like to realise a world where waste is autonomously eliminated from all supply chain operations and the cycle of sustainable improvement continues.

“There are still many such losses and stagnation in supply chain operations, so through the drastic reduction of wasted labor and resources, we would like to provide better ways of working, and contribute to customers’ management reform, and also to the realisation of a sustainable society by carefully using limited global resources.

“I am confident that by combining the power of Blue Yonder and Panasonic, we can create innovation in global supply chains.”

Girish Rishi, CEO of Blue Yonder, commented: “I am thrilled to announce that Blue Yonder is joining Panasonic. This association came about as a result of three years of working together, first with Panasonic as a Blue Yonder customer and thereafter as joint venture partner.

“We have developed mutual trust and have a shared vision for an Autonomous Supply Chain that delivers a better life and a better world.

“As the essential platform for essential times, we are relentlessly focused in fulfilling our customers’ potential.”