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04/23/2021

Panasonic in $7.1 billion deal to buy Blue Yonder

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A leading retail and supply chain enterprise digital fulfillment platform is being purchased for $7.1 billion.

Global electronics and technology giant Panasonic, which acquired 20% of Blue Yonder in July 2020, will purchase the remaining 80% of shares for $5.6 billion. Including repayment of outstanding debt, the additional investment totals $7.1 billion, valuing Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion.

JDA Software Inc. changed its name to Blue Yonder in February 2020. JDA acquired Blue Yonder, a provider of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) supply chain and retail solutions, in August 2018. The company said at the time that evolving the JDA brand and name to Blue Yonder also further supported the impact of AI and ML technologies across the supply chain, logistics and retail markets.

According to Panasonic and Blue Yonder, this acquisition strengthens Panasonic’s portfolio and accelerates the companies’ shared autonomous supply chain mission, enabling customers to optimize their supply chains using the combined power of AI/ML and Internet of Things (IoT) and edge devices. 

Panasonic and Blue Yonder established a strategic relationship in January 2019 with a partnership, followed by the creation of a joint venture company in Japan in November 2019. In July 2020, Panasonic took a 20% minority ownership stake and one seat on the board of directors of Blue Yonder. 

This acquisition also enhances Panasonic’s digital transformation and customer-centric initiative. On April 1, 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.

Yasuyuki Higuchi is the CEO of Panasonic’s Connected Solutions Company (to become Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd. on April 1, 2022) which leads this business area. Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi and the extended leadership team will join the new organization, and the Blue Yonder brand will be retained and business will function within the Panasonic Connected Solutions Company umbrella.

“I’m extremely happy to welcome Blue Yonder and its associates to the Panasonic Group,” said Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi. “Both companies 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. I am confident that by combining the power of Blue Yonder and Panasonic, we can create innovation in global supply chains."

“I am thrilled to announce that Blue Yonder is joining Panasonic,” said Girish Rishi, CEO of Blue Yonder. “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.”

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Panasonic and Blue Yonder. The deal is intended to close by the second half of fiscal 2021 and is subject to receipt of customary regulatory approvals.