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A year after it first expressed interest in acquiring its ailing electronics-making rival, Panasonic Corp. announced Thursday that it has successfully secured a majority stake in Sanyo Electric Co. The deal creates one of the world’s largest electronics makers and also positions Panasonic as the dominant player in fuel-efficient car batteries, where sales are likely to explode in the next few years. Sanyo is also a major producer of solar cells. On Nov. 5, Panasonic initiated a tender offer for Sanyo shares; Sanyo’s three largest shareholders ultimately sold Panasonic more than 3 billion Sanyo shares valued at $4.6 billion, bringing Panasonic’s stake past the 50 percent threshold. The three Sanyo shareholders are Goldman Sachs, Daiwa Securities SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. The two companies looked to Japanese counsel for M&A advice, with Panasonic tapping Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, and Sanyo relying on Mori Hamada & Matsumoto. Both firms also handled Japanese antitrust matters. Panasonic’s antitrust work in the United States was handled by Weil, Gotshal & Manges, with antitrust partners Ann Malester, Adam Hemlock and Debra Pearlstein leading the firm’s team. Weil also handled the matter before the European Commission; the EC review team was led by antitrust partner Douglas Nave and included Laura Wilkinson and associate Dean O’Connell. Stikeman Elliott handled Canadian competition matters for Panasonic; the team included competition partners Lawson Hunter and Jeff Brown in Ottawa. Sanyo tapped Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for U.S. antitrust advice; Washington antitrust partner Arman Oruc led a team that also included senior counsel Michael Naughton and associates Jennifer Rie and Noritaka Kumamoto. Arnold & Porter assisted with the EC review, led by partner Marleen Van Kerckhove with the help of counsel Niels Ersboell and associate Marco Ramondino. Both companies looked to John Jiang and a team of 10 other lawyers at Zhong Lun for Chinese antitrust advice, according to Asia Legal Business. The merger cleared the European Union in late September, and the Federal Trade Commission and the Chinese commerce ministry in November. Panasonic says the deal should be completed by Dec. 16.

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