Friday 25 June 2021 7:37 am

Panasonic sells entire stake in Tesla for $3.6bn

Panasonic has sold its stake in electric car maker Tesla for $3.6bn, a spokesperson for the Japanese company said today.

The sale comes as Panasonic looks to raise cash for investing in growth and to reduce its dependence on Tesla.

The electronics firm is dominated by Elon Musk’s company, but the two have often had a rocky relationship with executives trading barbs publicly.

Panasonic bought 1.4m Tesla shares at $21.15 each in 2010 for around $30m. This was worth $730m by the end of March 2020 and the shares have gained almost seven fold since then.

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

Earlier in the year, Musk said Tesla had bought Bitcoin and would accept payment in the cryptocurrency.

He later reversed this decision, and his tweets drove swings in the price of such assets.

While Panasonic gave financial backing to Tesla when it was a smaller company, the car maker’s expansion means there is no need for capital ties, Yasuda added.

The stake sale will not affect the partnership with Tesla, Panasonic said, but comes as Musk’s firm is diversifying its own battery supply chain.

Tesla has struck deals with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution and China’s CATL, with the latter planning a plant in Shanghai near the automaker’s production base, according to Reuters.

Panasonic’s shares were up 4.7 per cent today, while Tesla was up 3.5 per cent.