Panasonic Acquires Fulfillment Platform Provider Blue Yonder

Industrial engineering and electronics giant Panasonic Corp. has acquired Blue Yonder buy purchasing the remaining shares of the fulfillment platform provider. Panasonic said the deal “accelerates the companies’ shared autonomous supply chain mission.”

The remaining shares were purchased for $5.6 billion. In July, Panasonic acquired 20 percent of Blue Yonder. “Including repayment of outstanding debt the additional investment totals $7.1 billion, valuing Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion,” Panasonic said in a statement early this morning. “An agreement to purchase the remaining shares of Blue Yonder was reached today between Panasonic and the existing shareholders New Mountain Capital and funds managed by Blackstone.”

Blue Yonder was previously known as JDA Software Inc. and is considered a leader in the fulfillment technology sector serving the retail industry. Annual sales are about $1 billion. The deal is part of a larger strategic vision for Panasonic. In its statement today, the company said in April 2022, the Panasonic Group “will shift to a holding company system concentrating management resources on strategic businesses in key areas such as providing supply chain innovation and automation.”

Panasonic said Yasuyuki Higuchi is the chief executive officer of Panasonic’s Connected Solutions Company, which will change to Panasonic Connect Co. Ltd. on April 1, 2022, and will lead this business area while Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi “and the extended leadership team will join the new organization.” Panasonic said the Blue Yonder brand “will be retained and [the] business will function within the Panasonic Connected Solutions Company umbrella.”

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Peter Masucci, managing director of New Mountain Capital, said his firm “first began building Blue Yonder over 10 years ago, and the company has grown significantly since then.” Masucci said he’s “proud to have supported the company’s transformation into the world’s leading end-to-end, digital fulfillment platform provider.”

Rishi said the association with Panasonic “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.”

Martin Brand, senior managing director of Blackstone, praised the partnership with New Mountain Capital and Panasonic “to support Girish and his team in their transformation of Blue Yonder into the supply chain SaaS leader through accelerated investment in innovation and machine learning capabilities. The company will have a bright future as part of the Panasonic Group.”

The impetus for the deal was driven by changes in e-commerce, and new demands on the supply chain. Panasonic said 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.” The deal will empower customers “to optimize their supply chains using the combined power of AI/ML and IoT and edge devices,” the company said, adding that by unifying “supply, demand and commerce solutions with IoT and edge technologies, companies can better utilize predictive business insights to pivot their operations in real-time.”

Panasonic’s CEO Yuki Kusumi said the group and Blue Yonder “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 realize a world where waste is autonomously eliminated from all supply chain operations and the cycle of sustainable improvement continues,” Kusumi said. “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. I am confident that by combining the power of Blue Yonder and Panasonic, we can create innovation in global supply chains.”

Panasonic said the deal was approved by each of the board of directors of the companies, and said it is expected to close some time in the second half of the year.

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