Panasonic splashes $5.6bn on Blue Yonder to develop ‘autonomous supply chain’
Japan-based electronics company Panasonic has acquired US supply management company Blue Yonder outright for $5.6 billion.
The deal, completed last month and slated to close shortly, saw Panasonic acquire the remaining 80 percent of shares in the company from New Mountain Capital, adding to the 20 percent it acquired in July 2020. The total transaction fee was $7.1 billion, including repayment of outstanding debt. It values Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion. The pair have worked together since early 2019, creating a joint venture company together in Japan in late 2019.
Blue Yonder’s revenue was over $1 billion in 2020, with two thirds billed as recurring revenue, including $343 million from software-as-a-service. The company owns around 400 patents (granted and pending) for supply chain applications. It has branched into industrial IoT and analytics to drive digital change for logistics and production industries. Its offer is based on its cloud analytics platform, called LuminateTM.
The company claims 3,000-odd customers, including 65 of the top 100 retailers, 48 of the top 100 manufacturers, and nine of the top 10 third-party logistics providers, it said. Customers include Albertsons, Best Buy, BP, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, DHL, Diageo, Lowes, Marks & Spencer, Mercedes Benz, PepsiCo, Procter ＆Gamble, Starbucks, Unilever, and Walmart.
Panasonic will integrate the company into its ‘connected solutions’ business, retaining the brand and the management team. Panasonic has moved to a “holding company system”, it said, to focus on strategic ‘gemba’ (frontline) operations – “where value is created”. It said the acquisition will help the business to drive “supply chain innovation and automation”
A statement from 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. This acquisition strengthens Panasonic’s portfolio and accelerates [our shared ‘autonomous supply chain’ mission [for] customers to optimize supply chains using AI/ML, IoT, and edge devices.”
Yuki Kusumi, chief executive at Panasonic, said: “We would like to realize 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 labour 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.”
Girish Rishi, chief executive at Blue Yonder, said: “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.”