Japanese Watchdog OKs Panasonic Deal

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's fair trade watchdog said Thursday it has approved Panasonic Corp.'s $9 billion takeover of smaller rival Sanyo Electric Co., which would create one of the world's biggest electronics makers.

The Fair Trade Commission has given the green light to the deal, commission official Wataru Kobayashi said. He gave no further details.

Panasonic, the world's biggest plasma TV maker, aims to launch a tender offer for struggling Sanyo, hoping to take advantage of the smaller rival's green businesses in solar panels and rechargeable batteries.

Panasonic spokesman Akira Kadota said the company was waiting for clearance from anti-monopoly authorities in the United States, China and the European Union to go ahead with the takeover. He declined to say when Panasonic is to launch a tender offer.

Japan's top-selling paper, the Yomiuri daily, said Panasonic is expected to complete the acquisition of Sanyo after October. Kadota declined to confirm the report.

Shares of Panasonic rose 2.2 percent to 1,435 yen. Sanyo gained 1.9 percent to 263 yen Thursday.

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