Panasonic Sells Tesla Stake for 3.6 Billion

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TOKYO Reuters Panasonic Corp sold its stake in electric car maker Tesla Inc for about 400 billion yen 3.61 billion in the year ended March, a spokesperson for the Japanese company said on Friday.

The sale comes as the bicyclestohair dryers conglomerate is seeking to reduce its dependence on Tesla and raise cash for investments.

Panasonics battery business is dominated by Elon Musks Tesla, but the two firms have had a tense relationship at times with executives trading barbs publicly.

Panasonic bought 1.4 million Tesla shares at 21.15 each in 2010 for about 30 million. That stake was worth 730 million at the end of March 2020. The shares have gained almost seven fold since then and closed up 3.5 at 679.82 apiece on Thursday.

The impact of crypto assets may have pushed Teslas share price above its intrinsic value, making it a good time to sell, said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.

Musk said in February his firm bought bitcoin and would take payment in the cryptocurrency, a decision he later reversed, and his comments on Twitter drive swings in the price of such assets.

While Panasonic gave financial backing to Tesla when it was smaller, the automakers expansion means theres no need for capital ties, Yasuda added. Panasonics shares closed up 4.9 on Friday.

The stake sale will not affect the partnership with Tesla, the Panasonic spokesperson said, and was made as part of a review of shareholdings in line with corporate governance guidelines….

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