Panasonic Acquires Autonomous Supply Chain Solution Provider Blue Yonder

The partnership is intended to help companies fuel digital transformation and utilize predictive business insights to pivot their operations in real time via artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things.
Published: May 10, 2021

Ed. Note: A version of this article originally appeared at  Retail TouchPoints.

Panasonic has announced that it will acquire  Blue Yonder for a total of $7.1 billion, which will include purchasing the remaining 80 percent of shares it doesn’t yet own for $5.6 billion, as well as handling the repayment of outstanding debt. The deal, which values Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion, will accelerate the companies’ shared autonomous supply chain mission, which aims to help companies utilize predictive business insights to pivot their operations in real time through the combined power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) and edge devices.

The partnership will combine Panasonic’s strength in industrial engineering, IoT and edge technologies with Blue Yonder’s AI- and ML-driven supply chain and commerce solutions. Together, the companies report, Panasonic and Blue Yonder will seek to drive more automation and actionable, real-time business insights that reduce waste and improve operations. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both firms, and the deal is expected to close by the second half of fiscal year 2021, subject to customary regulatory approvals.

“By merging the two companies, we would like to realize a world where waste is autonomously eliminated from all supply chain operations and the cycle of sustainable improvement continues,” said Yuki Kusumi, Panasonic’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “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 realization of a sustainable society by carefully using limited global resources.”

The acquisition is expected to enhance Panasonic’s digital transformation and customer-centric focus. On Apr. 1, 2022, the Panasonic Group will shift to a holding company system, concentrating management resources on strategic business areas, such as providing supply chain innovation and automation. At that time, Panasonic’s Connected Solutions Co. will become Panasonic Connect Co. Meanwhile, Blue Yonder’s CEO, Girish Rishi, and his extended leadership team will join the new organization, and the solution provider will operate under its umbrella.

This acquisition builds on Panasonic’s existing strategic relationship with Blue Yonder, which was established as a partnership in January 2019 and was followed by the creation of a joint venture company in Japan in November of that year. Last July, Panasonic took a 20 precent minority ownership stake and a seat on Blue Yonder’s Board of Directors.

“This association came about as a result of three years of working together, first with Panasonic as a Blue Yonder customer and thereafter as a joint venture partner,” Rishi said in the prepared statement. “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.”